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AS GLOBAL investors kept driving stock prices up on Wall Street in the second quarter, their Asian counterparts continued to take profits - with Singapore traders being the biggest sellers from this region.
According to figures released by the US Treasury, Singapore investors sold a net US$3.0 billion of US stocks in the three months ending June this year, or half of the total net Asian sale on the New York Stock Exchange in that quarter.
Despite a troubling environment characterised by escalating violence in various corners of the globe, slowing growth and credit concerns in China, as well as mixed US economic data, global trading in US stocks reverted to a net "buy" position in the April-June quarter (See figures here).
Global investors shifted from a net sale of US$20.93 billion in the first three months of the year to a net purchase of US$23.58 billion in a quarter that saw the Standard & Poor's 500 index jump 5.23 per cent and the technology-heavy Nasdaq Composite rise 4.98 per cent.
For the first six months, the S&P 500 posted a 7.1 per cent gain - after a 30 per cent-plus jump in 2013.
Canadian investors snapped up a net US$6.64 billion of US stocks in the second quarter, after dumping a net US$2.14 billion in the first quarter.
Europeans, who bought a net US$8.49 billion previously, continued to stay on the acquisition path - though they eased their purchase to a net US$6.29 billion. Asian investors, in the meantime continued to take profit, disposing of US$4.69 billion in the first quarter and US$6.13 billion in the second.
While Singapore traders moderated their net sale from US$5.32 billion in the first three months of the year, the Japanese extended theirs from US$0.79 billion to US$2.79 billion in April-June. Hong Kong investors followed up with a net sale of US$1.41 billion, after getting rid of a net US$0.65 billion in the first quarter.
In the Asian-Pacific region, only the Australians and South Koreans continued to be net buyers on Wall Street.
US investors continued to buy stocks outside their country, though their net purchases were slashed from US$70.35 billion in January-March to US$31.32 billion in the next three months which saw global stock prices, excluding the US's, rise 5.25 per cent.
Half of the net purchases US investors made in the second quarter, or US$15.11 billion, were Asian stocks. This was up sharply from the first quarter when Asian stocks were only a tiny fraction - US$2.49 billion - of the total.
Singapore stocks were the second largest Asian stocks in value that US investors snapped up. At first they dumped US$2.26 billion of stocks traded on the Singapore Exchange during the first quarter; they then bought a net US$2.27 billion during the second.
Over half - US$8.7 billion - of the Asian stocks which US investors picked up in April-June were Hong Kong stocks. They sold a net US$1.67 billion of these stocks in the first quarter.
Excluding Japan, Asian stocks jumped 7.3 per cent in the second quarter. Japanese stocks gained 6.69 per cent. US investors bought a net US$1.09 billion of Japanese stocks, after purchasing US$4.27 billion in the previous quarter.