Singapore shares snap losing streak

SINGAPORE shares snapped an eight-session losing streak on Friday on bargain-hunting and slightly reduced fears over a cut in United States money printing.

The benchmark Straits Times Index (STI) had lost 4 per cent in its recent string of declines, its longest losing run since August. But it recovered a little lost ground on Friday, gaining 6.98 points or 0.23 per cent to 3,066.02.

The STI lost 48.15 points or 1.5 per cent for the week.

Friday's gains were aided by worse-than-expected weekly jobless numbers from the US, which tempered fears that the Federal Reserve would scale down its bond-purchase programme as soon as next week.

New claims for US unemployment benefits rose to 368,000 in the week ending Dec 7 from the previous week's upwardly revised figure of 300,000, according to data on Thursday. Analysts had expected much lower jobless claims numbers and the fresh figures cast doubt over the health of the US labour market, which the Fed looks at when deciding whether to reduce its money-printing.

However, US retail sales data on Thursday were upbeat and provided some ammunition for those predicting an impending cut in bond purchases. Major US stock indexes had closed lower on Thursday.

In Singapore, the STI's gainers included alcohol producer Thai Beverage, up 2.5 cents or 5.4 per cent to 49 cents as 52 million shares changed hands.