Bulls And Bears

STI unperturbed by global political news

Result of British polls, Comey's comments on Trump fail to roil other Asian markets as well

Asian stock markets yesterday shrugged off a triple whammy of political news from Europe and the US to close with no dramatic moves either up or down.

It looked set to be a volatile day in financial markets as the news unfolded.

British elections resulted in a hung Parliament, former FBI director James Comey accused the Trump White House of lying, and the European Central Bank undermined expectations of more interest rate cuts - a sign it is moving closer towards a withdrawal of stimulus for the euro zone.

Yet regional markets kept their cool, with Singapore's benchmark Straits Times Index (STI) rising 17.14 points or 0.53 per cent to 3,254.19, leaving it 0.43 per cent higher for the week.

Tokyo gained 0.52 per cent, Seoul rose 0.77 per cent and Shanghai edged up 0.26 per cent. Hong Kong dipped 0.13 per cent.

Mr Rohit Arora, an Asian emerging markets strategist at UBS Group in Singapore, told Bloomberg that the stock markets are being led more by economic data than geopolitical news.

"Our work indicates that the volatility profiles of asset markets and macro data are intimately linked. For the best part of 2017, we have seen macroeconomic data strengthening. This has kept the volatility low and contagion risks contained," he said.

StarHub dropped three cents to $2.71, after OCBC Investment Research reiterated its "sell" call on the stock yesterday.

The telco recently said it would acquire a 51 per cent stake in cyber security firm Accel Systems & Technologies for $19.4 million.

"In our view, while it makes sense for StarHub to strengthen and diversify away from consumer business towards enterprise business, we think it will take time to build up its cyber security capabilities before it gains significant traction in this business," wrote OCBC analyst Eugene Chua in a report.

"Over the near to medium term, we continue to expect a lack of catalysts for StarHub."

Of the telco's rivals, Singtel lost two cents to $3.74 while M1 added a cent to $2.25.

China Aviation Oil (CAO) gained half a cent to $1.655. CIMB Research maintained its "add" call on the stock yesterday, saying the firm stands to gain from China's One Belt, One Road strategy.

"CAO is a prime beneficiary, given strong parentage - China National Aviation Fuel Group - and a business model that is firmly intertwined with China's aviation industry," noted analyst Cezzane See.

"CAO's core jet fuel supply division benefits from growth of Chinese carriers' long-haul routes. Existing strategic alliances will further facilitate geographic expansion goals."

A version of this article appeared in the print edition of The Straits Times on June 10, 2017, with the headline 'STI unperturbed by global political news'. Print Edition | Subscribe