UPDATE 1-DBS, OCBC's results top market estimates, core business grows
(Recasts to combine banks' results)
SINGAPORE Nov 1 (Reuters) - Singapore's two biggest banks beat quarterly profit estimates on Friday, helped by a robust performance in their core lending businesses even as volatile markets hit trading income.
Analysts had expected more muted results from DBS Group Holdings Ltd and Oversea-Chinese Banking Corp after their trading fees were hurt by gyrations on global markets, which tumbled over fears the U.S. Federal Reserve would unwind its massive stimulus programme.
"It looks as if DBS continues to power ahead with its trade financing while OCBC's loan growth was driven by a strong performance in its mortgage business," said Matthew Smith, an analyst for Macquarie in Kuala Lumpur.
Southeast Asia's largest lender DBS Group earned S$862 million ($695 million) in the three months ended September, more than the S$828 million average forecast of analysts polled by Reuters, and up 1 percent from a year earlier.
The bank said loans grew by 3 percent from the previous quarter and net interest income hit a record S$1.41 billion.
Quarterly core profit at OCBC rose 5 percent, helped by a rise in net interest income and strength in its consumer and insurance businesses. However, operating profit in its global treasury and markets business fell 49 percent to S$87 million compared to a year earlier.
Singapore's banks have benefitted from solid growth in lending over the past few quarters, although they face a tougher outlook on housing loans after the government introduced measures to cool the city-state's red-hot property market.
DBS and OCBC will hold separate media briefings later on Friday.
"Uncertainty in financial markets resulted in lower contributions from stockbroking, investment banking and trading activities," DBS said in a statement.
"Trading income fell 44 percent as treasury positions were reduced and treasury customer flows were lower."
CEO Piyush Gupta, whose main focus has been on expanding DBS's existing businesses, recently abandoned a bid to take a controlling stake in PT Bank Danamon Indonesia Tbk due to regulatory obstacles.
OCBC, whose businesses include private bank Bank of Singapore and insurer Great Eastern Holdings Ltd, earned S$759 million in the three months ended Sept 30, beating the S$642 million average forecast of six analysts polled by Reuters.
"The challenging market conditions associated with the uncertainty over the timing of the U.S. Federal Reserve's tapering of bond purchases have reduced our income contribution from trading and market-related activities," CEO Samuel Tsien said in a statement.
DBS's shares have jumped 13 percent so far this year, outpacing a 7 percent rise in OCBC and a 5 percent increase in United Overseas Bank Ltd. The broader 30-share Straits Times Index has edged up just about 1 percent in the same period. ($1 = 1.2403 Singapore dollars) (Reporting by Anshuman Daga and Rachel Armstrong; Editing by Stephen Coates)
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