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Singapore shares close higher after Clinton debate win sparks 'relief rally'

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MARKETS on Tuesday reacted to news that US Democratic presidential candidate Hillary Clinton most probably won the first of three debates with her Republican rival Donald Trump by pushing the Dow futures up more than 100 points initially.

At 5 pm though, this "relief rally" had been cut to about 60 points, though regional indices still closed in the black - the Hang Seng Index ended 1.1 per cent up, the Nikkei gained 0.9 per cent and the Straits Times Index (STI) added 10.29 points at 2,860.23.

In the currency market, the Mexican peso rose by more than 2 per cent and the Canadian dollar also rebounded after a CNN poll revealed that 62 per cent of viewers thought that Mrs Clinton had won the debate. Mexico and Canada are part of the North American Free Trade Agreement (Nafta) signed with the US in 1994, an treaty that Mr Trump opposes.

However, although the STI managed a rise, volume at 1.4 billion units worth S$853 million was below par, and the advance-decline score of 213-156 excluding warrants showed that gains were not widespread.

Index components that gained the most were the banks and Singtel. In the second line, there was plenty of evidence of the rotational punting which has marked trading over the past couple of weeks, with fresh names such as Rex International, GCCP and IEV entering the top actives list. In GCCP's case, it was queried by the Singapore Exchange (SGX) in the morning and replied before 5 pm in the negative.