Sep 27, 2016

    Eyes on oil meet and Trump v Clinton debate

    SINGAPORE shares ended slightly lower, with traders anticipating higher volatility given a meeting of the world's largest oil producers this week and a crucial United States presidential election debate.

    The Straits Times Index slid 0.25 per cent or 7.01 points to 2,849.94, weighed down by Singtel, which slipped 0.5 per cent or two cents to $3.96.

    ComfortDelGro dipped 1.8 per cent or five cents to $2.76; airport handling agent Sats fell 3.1 per cent or 16 cents to $4.93, United Overseas Bank dipped 0.4 per cent or eight cents to $18.77 and Keppel Corp was down nearly 1 per cent or five cents to $5.21.

    Opec members are meeting this week in Algeria to discuss a possible deal to limit output.

    Oil prices last week fell by nearly 5 per cent after signs that Saudi Arabia and Iran made little progress on a deal to freeze output, but were holding steady yesterday.

    The meeting is good reason to keep an eye on oil and gas stocks this week, according to DBS Group Research.

    "If the Algiers meeting fails to bring about an agreement to cut production, oil prices could fall, bringing down oil and gas stocks," DBS said.

    Pennies were again the most actively traded, with Magnus Energy flat at 0.2 cents with 103.4 million shares traded; Noble Group rose 1.5 per cent or 0.2 cents to 13.8 cents with 90.9 million shares done.

    Another actively traded counter was SunMoon Food, which jumped 10.9 per cent or 0.6 cents to 6.1 cents, on 55.3 million shares done after the firm, responding on Sunday to the Singapore Exchange's query last week, said it could not explain unusual volume movements in its stock.

    But the company added that after shifting to a new business model, it has been "continuously exploring opportunities to increase its geographic presence, product range, as well as sales network so as to maximise shareholder value".

    Meanwhile, the spotlight has shifted from central banks' monetary policy to the US presidential debate between Democratic candidate Hillary Clinton and Republican candidate Donald Trump.

    The debate was due to be held at 9am today Singapore time and is seen by analysts as crucial in a much tighter race.

    "If Mr Trump leads in the first presidential debate, we will probably see higher risk premium in the equity market and rising political uncertainties in the US," CMC Markets analyst Margaret Yang said.