Bulls And Bears

Markets jittery as US election looms

Investors also stay away on fears that Fed will raise interest rate next month

Asian markets stayed on edge yesterday ahead of an increasingly tight presidential race in the United States - and growing signs of a US interest rate rise next month.

Investors in Singapore mostly stayed on the sidelines. The benchmark Straits Times Index was little changed as a result, slipping just 5.06 points or 0.18 per cent to 2,802.08.

Across the region, the jitters were palpable, with the key MSCI Asia Pacific index excluding Japan falling to a three-month low.

Hong Kong fell 0.56 per cent, Kuala Lumpur slid 0.69 per cent and Jakarta retreated 1.41 per cent. Shanghai bucked the trend, rising 0.84 per cent. Tokyo was on holiday.

"There's a nervousness about the US Federal Reserve raising interest rates and jitters ahead of an election that is too close to call," said Mr Shane Oliver, the Sydney-based head of investment strategy at AMP Capital Investors, in an interview with Bloomberg. "It's all about election risk now. If anything, the Fed has strengthened its confidence in a rate hike next month and that's weighed on investor confidence."

Super Group was among the top actives at home, rising 29 cents to $1.26, on news that it had received a $1.45 billion buyout offer from Dutch tea and coffee company Jacobs Douwe Egberts. This amounts to $1.30 per Super share.

Global Logistic Properties continued its ascent after rocketing more than 13 per cent on Wednesday amid speculation that it could be a takeover target for a group of investors that includes China's sovereign fund. GLP shares yesterday climbed 10.5 cents or 5.4 per cent to $2.05.

Commodity plays were also in focus as palm oil demand could rise in response to Malaysia's move to implement higher biodiesel mandates for the transportation and industrial sector starting from Dec 1. Golden Agri-Resources gained half a cent to 37 cents, Kencana Agri slipped 1.5 cents to 42.5 cents and Indofood Agri rose half a cent to 47 cents.

OUE gained2.5 cents to $1.715, after reporting that third-quarter net profit soared to $107.6 million from $15 million in the same period last year, mainly due to a one-off gain.

OCBC Investment Research analyst Eli Lee praised the firm for its "strong execution", noting that "after active marketing effort and the implementation of a deferred payment scheme, the group has enjoyed significant success at selling units at OUE Twin Peaks". He maintained his "buy" call on the stock.

SingPost added half a cent to $1.615, after a positive review by Maybank Kim Eng Research on the firm's new e-commerce logistics hub, which opened on Tuesday.

"SingPost can stay ahead of disruption by being more efficient, offering more flexibility and upskilling its people," wrote analyst John Cheong in a note yesterday. "Strengthened collaboration with Alibaba provides a common platform to grow e-commerce logistics capability."

A version of this article appeared in the print edition of The Straits Times on November 04, 2016, with the headline 'Markets jittery as US election looms'. Print Edition | Subscribe