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STI down 1.6% for the week ahead of FOMC meeting


THE impending Christmas holidays combined with ever-weakening oil prices and next week's US Federal Open Markets Committee meeting made for yet another forgettable week for the local stock market in which the Straits Times Index lost 45 points or 1.6 per cent at 2,834.63 - all in poor volume.

On Friday when the index drifted within a narrow band before closing 13.83 points weaker, turnover amounted to 971 million units worth S$825.2 million, the seventh consecutive session with volume below S$1 billion. Business in the STI components amounted to S$473 million, or about 57 per cent of the dollar total. Excluding warrants, there were 125 rises versus 257 falls.

There were only a few features of note, one being confirmation of the takeover of Neptune Orient Lines (NOL) by France's CMA CGM at S$1.30 per share. Probably because there are still many hurdles to be overcome before the deal is complete, NOL' shares spent the whole week around the S$1.22 level, ending at S$1.225 on Friday.

A second corporate development was the shock resignation of SingPost's chief executive officer, Wolfgang Baier, reportedly to pursue new endeavours. The announcment was made after the market closed on Thursday, on Friday SingPost's shares fell S$0.04 to S$1.715 on volume of 12.4 million.

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