Daily Morning Note – 23 September 2021

PHILLIP SUMMARY

Wall Street stocks advanced Wednesday following reassurances from China's Evergrande over its finances, while the Federal Reserve kept interest rates low, as expected. The embattled Chinese property titan said it had agreed to a deal with domestic bondholders that should allow it to avoid missing one of its interest payments, somewhat mollifying a major source of market angst this week. Worries about the fallout from an Evergrande failure had slammed stocks on Monday. Later, the Fed kept interest rates low, while adding that it may nonetheless "soon" be ready to begin removing stimulus it provided during the pandemic. The Dow Jones Industrial Average finished up one percent at 34,258.32.


BREAKING NEWS

SG News

Aspen (Group) Holdings it a two-month high in early trading on Wednesday, prompting a query from the Singapore Exchange (SGX) about the "unusual price and volume movements". In its response to SGX’s query during the midday trading break, Aspen said it is not aware of any information not previously announced concerning the company, its subsidiaries or associates which might explain the trading. It also confirmed its compliance with listing rules.

Keppel Corp has priced 8 billion yen (S$98.7 million) in notes due 2027 at 0.99 percent per annum, it said on Wednesday evening. The notes are expected to be issued on or around Sept 29, under the conglomerate's US$5 billion multi-currency medium-term note programme. Net proceeds from the issue of the notes will be used for general corporate and working capital purposes, including the refinancing of existing debts.

Temasek Holdings has made a mandatory conditional general cash offer to acquire all the issued and paid-up ordinary shares in Sembcorp Marine (Sembmarine) after Temasek's stake in the latter was raised to 46.6 percent from 42.2 percent due to its rights issue. The offer is in line with Rule 14.1 of the Take-over Code, where any entity controlling 30 to 50 percent of a company must make a mandatory general offer if it raises its interest by more than 1 percent within a period of six months.

Clearbridge Health on Wednesday said its second batch of Sinopharm Covid-19 vaccines have arrived in Singapore. The vaccines will be available at Medic Surgical & Laser Clinic, operated by the group's subsidiary, the integrated healthcare group said in a bourse filing. The group's first batch of Sinopharm vaccines had arrived in Singapore on Aug 28 and were fully allocated in early September.

Starhub on Wednesday announced plans to acquire a majority 50.1 percent stake in MyRepublic's broadband business in Singapore for an initial consideration of S$70.8 million, subject to several adjustments. Deferred consideration of S$92 million will be payable on the condition that financial performance metrics be met. That would take StarHub's investment for its stake in the jointly owned entity - MyRepublic Broadband - to S$162.8 million. The acquisition will be funded using StarHub's internal cash resources.


US News

Sales of US existing homes fell in August for the first time in three months as the ongoing supply shortage and high prices kept buyers away from the market, according to industry data released on Wednesday. Sales dropped two percent last month to an annual rate of 5.88 million, seasonally adjusted, the National Association of Realtors (NAR) reported, which was slightly higher than analysts forecast.

Facebook said on Wednesday that Apple's iPhone privacy changes, which allow users to block tracking, significantly affected its advertising revenues because fewer data could be collected. The move by Apple earlier this year has sparked a rift with Facebook and other tech rivals and could have major implications for data privacy and the mobile ecosystem. Facebook had already indicated that the features to boost user data protection in the update launched in late April would hit its ad revenues, but it offered more detail in a blog post.

The Food and Drug Administration plans to authorize a third booster dose of the Pfizer Inc-BioNTech SE vaccine imminently, according to a person familiar with the matter. The expected emergency clearance will be for people 65 and older, those most susceptible to severe disease, and people whose jobs put them at risk, the person said. An announcement is planned for Wednesday, the person said. The emergency clearance, which is in line with a recommendation from FDA advisers, is narrower than the full approval Pfizer had sought.

The chairman of the US Federal Reserve called on lawmakers to raise the nation's borrowing limit urgently on Wednesday, warning that failure to pay government debts would do "severe damage" to the economy. "It's just very important that the debt ceiling be raised in a timely fashion so the United States can pay its bills when it comes due," Jerome Powell said as the central bank concluded its September meeting. Failure to pay, he added, is "just not something we can contemplate."

Rising Covid-19 cases have slowed the US economy's recovery, but the Federal Reserve on Wednesday said it may nonetheless "soon" be time to begin removing the stimulus it provided during the pandemic. The closely-watched announcement left policy unchanged for now, but new forecasts from central bankers show they expect the first interest rate increase next year. That would take the benchmark lending rate above zero in the world's dominant economy for the first time since the start of the pandemic.


Source: SGX Masnet, The Business Times, Bloomberg, Channel NewsAsia, Reuters, CNBC, PSR

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