Quiet week likely for Singapore market

Quiet week likely for Singapore market
PHOTO: The Straits Times

The Singapore stock market will likely end the last week of 2016 on a muted note - a stark contrast to the frenzy of action it saw at the start of the year.

"The final week of the year is expected to remain a quiet one, with thin trading conditions to continue as investors unwind before the year ends," IG market strategist Pan Jingyi told The Straits Times.

The week will be a shortened one, with the Singapore market reopening today.

It was closed yesterday, along with markets in Hong Kong and the United States.

But worries remain beneath the calm.

Read Also: Malaysia's ringgit may keep tumbling amid the market's Trump tantrum

"Moving ahead, the main concern will remain with US policies as President-elect Donald Trump enters office in January," Ms Pan said, adding that the region will also continue to be focused on China's growth.

Asian markets have taken a hit since Mr Trump's unexpected election win on fears that his fiscal stimulus plans will lead to substantial capital outflows from this part of this world.

The benchmark Straits Times Index dropped 2.27 per cent last week - marking a 0.44 per cent decline for the year so far - in line with the broader pullback across Asian markets.

"The strong US dollar theme, reignited after December's FOMC (Federal Open Market Committee) meeting, has kept concerns of capital outflows from Asian markets at the top of traders' minds. This had weighed on regional indices," said Ms Pan.

Donald Trump wins US presidency in stunning upset

  • Open gallery

    Donald Trump has stunned America and the world, riding a wave of populist resentment to defeat Hillary Clinton in the race to become the 45th president of the United States.

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    The Republican mogul defeated his Democratic rival, plunging global markets into turmoil and casting the long-standing global political order, which hinges on Washington's leadership, into doubt.

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    "Now it is time for America to bind the wounds of division," Trump told a crowd of jubilant supporters in the early hours of Wednesday in New York.

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    "I pledge to every citizen of our land that I will be president for all Americans." During a bitter two-year campaign that tugged at America's democratic fabric, the bombastic tycoon pledged to deport illegal immigrants, ban Muslims from the country and tear up free trade deals.

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    His message appears to have been embraced by much of America's white majority, disgruntled by the breath and scope of social change and economic change in the last eight years under their first black president, Barack Obama.

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    Trump openly courted Russian leader Vladimir Putin, called US support for NATO allies in Europe into question and suggested that South Korea and Japan should develop their own nuclear weapons.

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    The businessman turned TV star turned-politico - who has never before held elected office - will become commander-in-chief of the world's sole true superpower on January 20.

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    The results prompted a global market sell-off, with stocks plunging across Asia and Europe and billions being wiped off the value of investments.

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    Although he has no government experience and in recent years has spent as much time running beauty pageants and starring in reality television as he had building his property empire, Trump at 70 will be the oldest man to ever become president.

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    Yet, during his improbable rise, Trump has constantly proved the pundits and received political wisdom wrong.

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    Opposed by the entire senior hierarchy of his own Republican Party, he trounced more than a dozen better-funded and more experienced rivals in the party primary.

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    During the race, he was forced to ride out allegations of sexual assault and was embarrassed but apparently not shamed to have been caught on tape boasting about groping women.

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    And, unique in modern US political history, he refused to release his tax returns.

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    But the biggest upset came on Tuesday, as he swept to victory through a series of hard-fought wins in battleground states from Florida to Ohio.

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    Clinton had been widely assumed to be on course to enter the history books as the first woman to become president in America's 240-year existence.

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    Americans have repudiated her call for unity amid the United States' wide cultural and racial diversity, opting instead for a leader who insisted the country is broken and that "I alone can fix it."

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    If early results hold out, Trump's party will have full control of Congress and he will be able to appoint a ninth Supreme Court justice to a vacant seat on the bench, deciding the balance of the body.

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    So great was the shock that Clinton did not come out to her supporters' poll-watching party to concede defeat, but instead called Trump and sent her campaign chairman to insist in vain the result was too close to call.

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    "I want every person in this hall to know, and I want every person across the country who supported Hillary to know that your voices and your enthusiasm mean so much to her and to him and to all of us. We are so proud of you. And we are so proud of her," chairman John Podesta told shell-shocked supporters.

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    "She's done an amazing job, and she is not done yet," he insisted.

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    Musician Lagy Gaga stages a protest against Republican presidential nominee Donald Trump on a sanitation truck outside Trump Tower in New York City after midnight on election day November 9, 2016.

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    A street performer dressed as the Statue of Liberty hold photos of U.S. presidential candidates Donald Trump and Hillary Clinton at the financial Central district in Hong Kong, China November 9, 2016, after Trump won the presidency.

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    A "Naked Cowboy" performer supporting Donald Trump walks through Times Square in New York, November 9, 2016.

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    People react as they watch news on a screen to follow the results of the final day of the US presidential election at an event organised by the American consulate in Shanghai on November 9, 2016.

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    Protesters against president-elect Donald Trump march peacefully through Oakland, California.

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    A separate group earlier in the night set fire to garbage bins and smashed multiple windows.

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    Police officers chase a group of about 50 protesters.

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    University of California, Davis students protest on campus in Davis, California.

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    An invitee places a cookie depicting U.S. Democratic presidential nominee Hillary Clinton on a table at the US presidential election results watch party at the residence of US Ambassador to Japan, Caroline Kennedy, in Tokyo.

The US Fed raised rates on Dec 14, and is widely expected to roll out more rate hikes in the course of 2017.

Some of the notable movers here last week included the three local banks, which all clocked losses.

DBS Group Holdings, for instance, finished flat at $17.39 on Friday and was down 3.5 per cent for the week.

Australian oilfield services firm AusGroup sank 8 per cent through the week to $2.222.

Read Also: Stocks could suffer as Trump trade policy takes shape

It flagged a potential event of bond default last Friday in a market already badly stung by a spate of defaults this year.

The mainboard-listed firm is seeking consent from bond holders to extend the maturity of $110 million worth of notes by two years, to 2018.

The group, which has pledged its Port Melville facility in the Northern Territory to bond holders as security in return, was unable to meet the deadline to obtain a written ministerial consent for the property's mortgage as the Australian minister-in-charge was away.

Meanwhile, the first initial public offering (IPO) this year - HC Surgical Specialists - slipped 0.8 per cent during the week to 60 cents on Friday.

Read Also: Trump is US President: 8 things Singapore investors need to know right now

Mr David Cheng, head of corporate finance at OCBC Bank, noted that while the local IPO market has rebounded this year, the number of deals and proceeds raised still lagged behind those of a few years ago - reflecting the challenging market conditions.

"Investor sentiment remains cautious going into 2017 but could turn positive if global macro factors continue to re-rate higher," he told The Straits Times.

"One thing for sure is that investors continue to look for attractive deals, including IPO companies that are priced appropriately. With a hopeful pipeline of issuers looking to raise capital, we expect to see the comparably stronger companies tap the equity markets next year."


This article was first published on December 27, 2016.
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