Sep 28, 2016

    Punters upbeat after Clinton, Trump debate

    SINGAPORE shares clawed back ground after early losses yesterday to end on a high note as investors cheered what they saw as Democrat nominee Hillary Clinton's win over Republican candidate Donald Trump in the first United States presidential election debate.

    The Straits Times Index closed up 0.36 per cent or 10.29 points to 2,860.23, buoyed by Singtel, which rebounded 0.8 per cent or three cents to $3.99.

    Banking counters also got a reprieve, with DBS Group gaining 0.7 per cent or 10 cents to $15.30, while OCBC rose 0.6 per cent or five cents to $8.59. ComfortDelgro gained 1.1 per cent or three cents to $2.79, while CapitaLand climbed 0.6 per cent or two cents to $3.17.

    While local stocks tracked initial gains in US futures after it appeared Mrs Clinton trumped her rival in the first face-off, at least one expert flagged concerns that the closeness of the opinion polls seems to have been ignored by the market.

    Bank of Singapore chief investment officer Johan Jooste said that is "a dangerous thing given how close the race is now and how perilous it has proven in the recent past to be complacent about 'obvious' election outcomes".

    "Political risk is not a thing of the past just because Brexit is over," he added. Sentiment for local stocks will likely to remain fragile heading into the Nov 8 election.

    "Historically, US equity indices tend to be more volatile during presidential election years where the incumbent is not seeking re-election," DBS Group Research said.

    And with Singapore's corporate earnings in recession and a recent slew of weak manufacturing and services-related economic data, investor mood is likely to stay guarded ahead of the third-quarter results season next month, it added.

    Pennies remain hotly traded yesterday, with GCCP Resources down 1.7 per cent or 0.1 cent to 5.8 cents, with 48.9 million shares traded. The firm said it could not explain the unusual volume movements in its stock after it was queried by the Singapore Exchange.

    Noble Group gained 2.2 per cent or 0.3 cent to 14.1 cents, with 145 million shares traded. Magnus Energy was flat at 0.2 cent on trade of 69.6 million shares while Rex International extended gains for a second session, jumping 8.1 per cent or 0.5 cent to 6.7 cents, with 63.7 million shares changing hands.