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Singapore stocks close week lower as geopolitical uncertainty rises

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LOCAL stocks spent the week tracking swings in the Dow futures and on Wall Street, which in turn were dictated by geopolitical risk concerns. The main source of this risk was developments first in Syria where the US launched missile attacks, then the Korean peninsula, where tensions are running high after the US despatched aircraft carriers there this week in an apparent show of force to Pyongyang after the latter's explicit statements about nuclear weapons and the likelihood of using them.

Also high on the list of worries is the US-China relationship given China's support for North Korea. This is somewhat tempered by a seemingly friendly visit by China's Xi Jinping last week to the US and statements by US President Donald Trump that he no longer views China as a currency manipulator.

With elections looming in France, trading activity in most markets has been muted - here, daily volume has hovered close to the S$1 billion mark as traders wait to see the extent to which tensions in Korea will escalate.

On Thursday, the Straits Times Index fell 16.77 points to 3,169.24, bringing its loss for the week to eight points. Turnover amounted to a low 2.2 billion units worth S$996.3 million and excluding warrants, there were 158 rises versus 315 falls.

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