Last week was a disappointment for those who hoped that the US Federal Reserve would be reducing its Quantitative Easing program. Turns out, Ben Bernanke, Chairman of the Fed, said that there won?t be any tapering yet, though there are regional Federal Reserve Bank presidents who have hinted at the possibility of a slowdown in the Fed?s stimulus to be enacted in October.
But before the next round of guessing games occurs regarding a ?yes-or-no? in tapering, the new fear du jour dragging down stock markets is…
Last week was a disappointment for those who hoped that the US Federal Reserve would be reducing its Quantitative Easing program. Turns out, Ben Bernanke, Chairman of the Fed, said that there won’t be any tapering yet, though there are regional Federal Reserve Bank presidents who have hinted at the possibility of a slowdown in the Fed’s stimulus to be enacted in October.
But before the next round of guessing games occurs regarding a ‘yes-or-no’ in tapering, the new fear du jour dragging down stock markets is a shutdown of the US government – where the government stops providing all but the most essential services – over policy disputes related to government funding.
While the drama in the USA is occurring thousands of miles away from our shores, there are ripples to be felt across the global financial markets whenever there are even hints of any trouble for the largest economy in the world.
The Straits Times Index (SGX: ^STI), for one, does seem to have felt the effects from the USA, dropping 0.7% to 3,214 today. Elsewhere, Japan’s Nikkei 225, London’s FTSE 100, and Hong Kong’s Hang Seng Index have fallen by 0.2%, 0.2%, and 0.6% respecitvely as of the time of writing (5:30pm, 23 Sep 2013)
While the political disputes in the USA have temporarily affected the stock market, Foolish investors should know better than to allow such bickering to influence their investing decisions. After all, as investors, we should be looking out for quality businesses, not policy changes.
Indeed, individual companies can and often do buck the broader market trend. So even though 20 out of 30 of the STI’s components ended the day in the red, there were shares that did decidedly better than the market. Let’s take a look at some of them.
Ezra Holdings Limited (SGX: 5DN) jumped 8.9% to S$1.23 today. The company, a leading offshore contractor in the oil & gas industry, announced last week on 16 Sep that it had offered notes worth S$25m to institutional and sophisticated investors.
These notes are essentially debt-instruments issued by Ezra to creditors at a fixed annual interest of 5%. The company’s using the proceeds from the note-issuance to repay existing debt in addition to financing its general working capital and corporate needs.
Elsewhere, Intraco Limited (SGX: I06) climbed 6.1% to S$0.525. The telecommunication infrastructure and plastics trader announced recently that it had entered into a joint venture in Myanmar with crane & heavy equipment supplier Tat Hong Holdings (SGX: T03) and Mr Aung Moe Kyaw to “carry out the business of rental of cranes and distribution of cranes and excavators” in the country.
The management of Intraco sees the JV as an opportunity to partake in the economic growth of Myanmar, which has only just opened its doors to outside-investors in recent years.
Rounding up the trio, we have palm-oil producer Golden Agri-Resources (SGX: E5H), whose shares inched up 0.9% to S$0.54. The company recently released its Sustainability Report 2012 that detailed its efforts in protecting and maintaining the natural environment in its daily business activities.
GAR’s results for the second quarter of 2013 saw a 58% year-on-year drop in quarterly profits to US$45m despite a 25% climb in revenue to US$1.68b. A fall in palm-oil prices was one of the main contributors to the company’s profit decline.
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The information provided is for general information purposes only and is not intended to be personalised investment or financial advice. Motley Fool Singapore contributor Chong Ser Jing doesn’t own shares in any companies mentioned.