Daily Morning Note – 21 March 2022
SINGAPORE shares ended the week higher against a mixed showing by regional peers. The Singapore Straits Times Index (STI) ended Friday (Mar 18) up 0.24 per cent or 7.92 points to 3,330.63. Elsewhere in Asia, some major indices failed to extend gains. Hong Kong and Indonesia were in the red while Japan, South Korea and Malaysia ended higher.
THE S&P 500 index, which tracks the 500 largest listed companies by market capitalisation in the United States, has had a lacklustre run in 2022 so far. Since hitting a high of 4,818.62 on Jan 4, 2022, the index has declined 12.4 per cent to a low of 4,222.62 on Jan 24, 2022. After a brief rebound, the index made another down leg to reach a low of 4,114.65 on Feb 24, 2022. The poor performance can be attributed to various factors, themes prominent being the persistently high inflation which led to worries of a faster and larger than expected withdrawal of monetary stimulus by the Federal Reserve. Shortly after, tensions escalated between Russia and Ukraine. Since then, market action has been closely following news headlines, waxing and waning with each act of escalation or de-escalation.
Property listing platform PropertyGuru’s share price fell 1.7 per cent or US$0.15 to close at US$8.46 on its first trading day in the US. It debuted on the New York Stock Exchange (NYSE) at US$8.61 on Friday (Mar 18), and had fallen US$0.82 or 9.5 per cent to a low of US$7.79 in the first hour of trading before paring losses. The listing, which counts as another Singapore unicorn delivering an exit to investors after similar moves by Grab and Sea, follows an aborted listing attempt on the Australian Securities Exchange in 2019. PropertyGuru was founded 15 years ago by Steve Mulhuish and Jani Rautiainen. It listed via a business combination with special-purpose acquisition company (SPAC) Bridgetown 2, which is backed by billionaires Peter Thiel and Richard Li.
Mainboard-listed Metro Holdings will continue to diversify its portfolio and grow its presence in different markets as the world gradually loosens restrictions and makes the transition to endemic living. With the ongoing Russia-Ukraine conflict and the pandemic dragging on, 2022 is shaping up to be a volatile year. Still, Metro’s group chief executive Yip Hoong Mun is cautiously optimistic that this year could be better than the last two years. Yip said: “We are cautiously optimistic partly because many countries have started lifting their restrictions. We can see that some businesses are getting a little bit back to normal.” While the group is still perhaps best remembered for its department stores, today it positions itself as a niche property investment and development company. Its property business dwarfs its retail segment, which comprises just 3 per cent of its total assets.
Singapore-based global real estate logistics provider and investment manager, GLP, has found that modern technologies have improved its ability to better capture data and turn it into actionable insights – aiding its environmental, social and governance (ESG) strategy. For example, within its logistics parks, GLP has adopted smart-meter systems to automate the collection of data on energy and water consumption, so that it can monitor real-time data and make improvements. And, in its data centres, its proprietary data centre infrastructure management system provides an integrated framework to intelligently link information technology and facility management with performance-related metadata, to optimise cooling and power usage effectiveness.
Oil on Friday (Mar 18) pared gains after the biggest daily surge in 16 months pushed prices back above US$100 a barrel. Futures in New York were trading near US$104 a barrel after jumping 8.4 per cent on Thursday. Crude has whipsawed this week on conflicting news about progress in peace negotiations between Russia and Ukraine. The International Energy Agency said on Friday that prices could move significantly higher in the coming months, adding that the oil markets are in an emergency that could get worse. West Texas Intermediate has swung by more than US$16 a barrel this week, the latest volatile fluctuation. Brent has moved by more than US$5 in each of the last 16 sessions – a record run. Both benchmarks are headed for a weekly loss.
Gold eased on Friday (Mar 18) and prices were set for their biggest weekly drop since late November as hopes for progress in Russia-Ukraine peace talks dented the metal’s safe-haven appeal. Spot gold slipped 0.2 per cent to US$1,938.29 per ounce by 0209 GMT. US gold futures were down 0.3 per cent to US$1,937.30. The metal has fallen about 2.4 per cent so far in the previous week.
Intercontinental Exchange (ICE), owner of the New York Stock Exchange (NYSE), joined a swath of global counterparts in removing Russian and Belarusian debt from its fixed-income indexes in the wake of the invasion of Ukraine and the implementation of wide-ranging sanctions. The debt will be deleted from indexes on Mar 31 at a price of 0, the firm said in a Friday (Mar 18) statement. The move comes after similar decisions by providers of various fixed-income and equity indexes, including JPMorgan Chase & Co, S&P Dow Jones Indices, MSCI and Bloomberg LP, which is also the parent of Bloomberg News. These announcements by benchmark providers come as market liquidity dries up for many Russia-related securities after the US and its allies imposed a wide array of sanctions in response to the Ukraine war.
Source: SGX Masnet, The Business Times, Bloomberg, Channel NewsAsia, Reuters, CNBC, PSR
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