SINGAPORE (Dec 17): Against the backdrop of heightened volatility, it is understandable that investors will seek lower-risk stocks as a safe haven. Typically, these would be companies with stable businesses, that pay consistent dividends (that will at least give investors a dependable stream of income in the absence of capital gains) and that have strong balance sheets.

Last week, I noted an interesting divergence in market valuations for companies in net cash positions and those with net borrowings. I have reproduced the table here (see Table 1), which shows net cash companies trading at steep discounts, on average, compared with those with net borrowings. 

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