Singapore shares gained ground for the second day this week on renewed bets that Democrat Hillary Clinton will win the US presidential elections today Singapore time.
The benchmark Straits Times Index (STI) climbed 19.29 points or 0.69 per cent to 2,820.24. A total of 1.65 billion shares worth $1.15 billion were traded across the bourse.
The final polls before election day showed Mrs Clinton holding and even widening her lead over her Republican rival Donald Trump, after the Federal Bureau of Investigation reiterated it will not press criminal charges over her e-mail practices while she was secretary of state.
Sentiment in the rest of the region was mostly similar. Shanghai and Hong Kong rose 0.46 per cent and 0.47 per cent respectively, but Tokyo slipped 0.03 per cent. Sydney edged up 0.13 per cent and Jakarta put on 1.57 per cent.
"The market is adding risk assets again," Mr Michael McCarthy, chief market strategist at CMC Markets in Sydney, told Bloomberg. "Clinton represents continuity, while Trump represents disruption. But as we've seen in the case of Brexit, anything could happen and so there's still a lot of uncertainty... until we see the actual results."
The local banks played a big part in propping up the STI, led by DBS Group Holdings, which extended gains with a 20 cent or 1.3 per cent increase to $15.33. United Overseas Bank put on five cents or 0.3 per cent to $18.54 and OCBC Bank rose six cents or 0.7 per cent to $8.52.
An RHB Securities report maintained a "neutral" call on the sector, citing a likely increase in non-performing loan ratios, albeit at a slow pace, along with more provisions to come. "However, NIM (net interest margin) expansion is the alert we believe could trigger earnings momentum for the banks," it said.
Global Logistic Properties rose six cents or 2.9 per cent to $2.10, after posting a 52 per cent jump in second-quarter earnings to US$173 million (S$240 million).
CapitaLand added two cents or 0.7 per cent to $3.06. The property giant yesterday appointed investment banker Andrew Lim as group chief financial officer with effect from Jan 1, 2017, taking over from Mr Arthur Lang, who has resigned to pursue other career interests.
Noble Group was again the day's most heavily traded, rising 0.3 cent or 1.7 per cent to 17.9 cents on a turnover of 222.4 million shares.
It was followed by oil and gas producer KrisEnergy, which shot up 2.1 cents or 12.5 per cent to 18.9 cents amid speculation over the possibility of the firm being taken private by shareholder Keppel Corporation.
ARA Asset Management asked for a trading halt to be lifted after the markets closed. It announced that a group of investors, including founder and group chief executive John Lim and US private equity firm Warburg Pincus, have launched an offer to privatise the firm. The stock last traded at $1.495 on Thursday, 8.5 cents or 6 per cent up the day before.