Daily Morning Note – 26 May 2022

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PHILLIP SUMMARY

The Straits Times Index (STI) retreated further into the red on Wednesday (May 25). Despite rising at the open, it ended down 0.5 per cent or 15.46 points at 3,179.58. Regional markets were mixed. Stocks in Seoul rebounded, with the Kospi up 0.4 per cent, Hong Kong’s Hang Seng Index also ended up 0.3 per cent, and the Kuala Lumpur Composite Index rising 0.3 per cent. However, in Tokyo, the Nikkei 225 index ended down 0.3 per cent, while the Jakarta Composite Index slipped 0.4 per cent.

Wall Street stocks finished a choppy session higher as investors took an optimistic view of Federal Reserve minutes that reiterated plans to raise interest rates. The Dow Jones Industrial Average climbed 0.6 per cent to 32,120.28. The broad-based S&P 500 advanced 1.0 per cent to 3,978.73, while the tech-rich Nasdaq Composite Index jumped 1.5 per cent to 11,434.74.

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BREAKING NEWS

SG

Real-estate solutions provider Boustead Projects reported a 91 per cent fall in earnings to S$11.3 million for FY 2022 ending Mar 31, down from S$131.7 million the year before, as a result of the absence of a one-off gain. The board of directors, upon the release of the company’s earnings results after market close on Wednesday (May 25), are proposing a final dividend of S$0.002 per share and a special dividend of S$0.008 per share, subject to shareholders’ approval. At the end of FY2021, the company had sold its interest in 14 properties to Boustead Industrial Fund (BIF), netting a one-off gain of S$134.8 million. The absence of this one-off gain would have resulted in a loss of S$3.2 million for FY2021. Thomas Chu, managing director of Boustead Projects, said: “Having worked through several large projects secured pre-pandemic with little margin for error, we are expecting to exit from the pre-pandemic backlog and be poised for a gradual recovery.” Revenue grew 13 per cent year on year to S$339.1 million from S$301.4 million on higher recognition on engineering and construction (E&C) projects in H1 FY2022 ending Sept 30. Total other income for FY2022 was 115 per cent higher at S$7.2 million from S$3.5 million, due to interest income derived from notes issued by BIF.

Clifford Centre, an ageing office and retail property in Raffles Place that once housed the Stock Exchange of Singapore, Bank of America and the Robinson’s Downtown Store, is headed for a redevelopment. Its owner, Singapore Land Group, obtained the Urban Redevelopment Authority’s (URA) provisional permission in February to redevelop the 999-year leasehold site into about 492,000 sq ft gross floor area (GFA) of offices and 52,000 sq ft of retail space. The combined GFA of 544,000 sq ft will be about 36 per cent more than Clifford Centre’s existing GFA of 401,138 sq ft as stated in SingLand’s latest annual report. The total GFA is roughly 15 times the site area of 36,000 sq ft, in line with the 15.0 plot ratio for the commercial-zoned site stipulated under the URA’s latest Master Plan. Office tenants in the existing 29-storey building include flexible space operator Compass Offices and law firm Donaldson & Burkinshaw.

Ahead of its moratorium hearings on Thursday (May 26), No Signboard Holdings announced that it was extended a lifeline by an unnamed investor who has agreed to invest up to S$5 million into the debt-ridden restaurant operator. In the event the company winds up, the investor will get preferential liquidation rights for the rescue financing, according to the agreement terms which No Signboard disclosed in a bourse filing on Wednesday (May 25). The High Court was scheduled to hear moratorium requests by the company and 2 of its subsidiaries, NSB Hotpot and NSB Restaurants, at 2.30 pm on Thursday. On Apr 29, the trio had applied for moratorium relief spanning 6 months under Section 64 of the Insolvency, Restructuring and Dissolution Act. The court orders being sought are to ensure that no resolution is passed to wind up the companies and that no legal process shall be commenced or continued against any property of the applicants, among other things.

US

Twitter agreed to pay US$150 million to settle allegations the platform gave advertisers some user information that was supposed to be employed to strengthen account security, US authorities said on Wednesday. The Federal Trade Commission and the Department of Justice accused Twitter of taking phone numbers or email addresses provided to tighten privacy and then letting advertisers use the details to make money. “Twitter obtained data from users on the pretext of harnessing it for security purposes but then ended up also using the data to target users with ads,” commission chair Lina Khan said in a release. The personal information that users hand over to tech companies, and how that data gets used, is a front of repeated conflict between regulators and powerful firms like Facebook parent Meta, Twitter and others.

Amazon.com said on Wednesday (May 25) it had opened its first brick-and-mortar clothing retail store, as people start to venture out to shop following easing Covid-19 curbs. The store, Amazon Style, located in Los Angeles, will use machine-learning technology to help customers find clothes and personalise recommendations. Customers shopping on the Amazon app will also have the option to try out their selections at the physical store, and will be notified on the fitting room’s availability.

Nike will not renew licencing agreements in Russia, the company said on Wednesday (May 25), joining a growing list of Western companies pulling back from the country following the Ukraine invasion of Ukraine. The move affects licenced retailers as Nike shuttered company-owned stores 2 months ago soon after Moscow sent troops into the neighbouring country. “Due to operational challenges in Russia, Nike has made the decision not to renew or enter into any new business commitments, including with our franchisee Up&Run,” the company said. “Our business remains on pause and we are providing pay continuity to our employees.” Nike’s statement was in response to an AFP enquiry into the status after Russian newspaper Vedomisti reported that Up & Run’s parent, Inventive Retail Group (IRG), would shutter its retail locations in Russia because of lack of access to merchandise.

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


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