DAILY MORNING NOTE | 28 September 2022
Singapore shares fell for the third session in a row on Tuesday (Sep 27), as the market tracked overnight Wall Street losses. The Straits Times Index shed 0.5 per cent or 16.47 points to 3,165.50. Losers beat gainers 280 to 217, with some 1.32 billion securities worth S$1.45 billion changing hands. Saxo market strategist Charu Chanana noted that the sell-off in US equities will likely continue, as bond yields continue to rise and the US dollar picks up strength. Overnight, the broad-based S&P 500 and the Nasdaq composite index fell 1 per cent and 0.6 per cent, respectively. “Although we could see quant traders likely to swoop and trigger a rally, we emphasise that headwinds still remain in place,” he said. “As bond yields and the US dollar are still charging, financial conditions and valuation remain pressured by the Fed’s pledge to tighten liquidity, and we are still likely to see more earnings downgrades,” Chanana said, adding that any potential rally would likely be “very short-lived”. Across the region, markets put up a mixed performance. Hong Kong’s Hang Seng Index edged up 0.03 per cent, South Korea’s Kospi composite index climbed 0.1 per cent, while Japan’s Nikkei 225 gained 0.5 per cent. On the other hand, the Kuala Lumpur Composite Index and the Jakarta Composite Index shed 0.2 per cent. The top gainer on the STI was Genting Singapore, which gained 1.3 per cent or S$0.01, to close at S$0.79. At the bottom of the table was Keppel DC Reit, which fell 2.8 per cent or S$0.05 to close at S$1.74. The 3 major banks were in the red on Tuesday. UOB declined 1 per cent or S$0.26 to close at S$26.57; OCBC fell 0.6 per cent or S$0.07 to close at S$11.87, and DBS shed 0.5 per cent or S$0.17 to close at S$33.02.
Wall Street stocks closed mixed on Tuesday with the S&P 500 notching a new low for the year. The results came after five straight days of declines, as US markets continue their slog through a punishing year in which soaring inflation has forced the US Federal Reserve to enact drastic interest rate increases. “The moves come as investors remain focused on recent monetary policy decisions around the world, which have elevated recession concerns,” Charles Schwab analysts said. Government data released on Tuesday showed that orders for big-ticket US-manufactured goods slipped in August but US new home sales surged – an increase that economists were skeptical could be sustained. The consumer confidence index meanwhile jumped nearly five points in September to 108.0, the second straight monthly gain, according to The Conference Board, as worries about high inflation receded. The major US stock indices climbed early in the session before falling. The Dow Jones Industrial Average finished down 0.4 per cent at 29,134.99 and the broad-based S&P 600 shed 0.2 per cent to close at 3,647.29. But the tech-rich Nasdaq Composite Index climbed 0.3 per cent to 10,829.50.
Keppel New Energy, a wholly-owned subsidiary of Keppel Infrastructure, is tying up with Japan’s Mitsubishi Heavy Industries (MHI) and DNV to explore the adoption of an ammonia-fired gas turbine on Jurong Island in Singapore. Keppel will study the feasibility of an ammonia-fuelled power plant and MHI will develop an ammonia-fired gas turbine with support from its power solutions brand Mitsubishi Power. Meanwhile, DNV, an independent energy expert and assurance provider, will prepare and present a quantitative risk assessment, the companies said in a joint statement on Tuesday (Sep 27). All 3 parties have inked a memorandum of understanding, which aims to draw up robust assessment guidelines to ensure the safety and sustainability of ammonia as a clean fuel, while maintaining efficiency and ensuring low nitrogen oxide emissions. Ammonia, which has a higher volumetric density than hydrogen, is easier to store and distribute. It does not produce carbon dioxide when fired and is an efficient hydrogen carrier, the companies said. The agreement comes months after Keppel Energy said it would develop Singapore’s first hydrogen-ready power plant, which will cost S$750 million. The power plant, to be located on Jurong Island, will be constructed by a consortium comprising Mitsubishi Power Asia Pacific and Jurong Engineering.
Mainboard-listed property developer Oxley Holdings has proposed a distribution in specie to its shareholders of the shares it holds in Singapore mainboard-listed, Malaysia-based developer Aspen (Group) Holdings. For every Oxley share held as at a yet-to-be-determined record date, Oxley shareholders will receive 0.023 of an Aspen share – or 23 Aspen shares for every 1,000 Oxley shares – if shareholders approve the distribution resolution at an extraordinary general meeting to be convened. The value of the distribution is 0.65 per cent, based on Oxley’s share price of S$0.16 on Monday (Sep 26) and Aspen’s share price of S$0.045. For some perspective, Oxley’s yield for dividends paid in FY2021 is 1.6 per cent. Directors of Oxley said in the Sep 8 regulatory filing they “believe that the proposed distribution will unlock shareholder value by enabling shareholders to individually and directly participate in the ownership of, and enjoy returns from, securities held in 2 separately listed entities without any additional cash outlay”. Shareholders who decide not to keep the Aspen shares can opt to sell all or a portion of them in the open market, the directors added. But in reality, doing so would be of little value to shareholders – particularly if they do not own large numbers of Oxley shares.
Regional tech group Grab aims to break even by the second half of 2024 in its adjusted earnings before interest, taxes, depreciation and amortisation (Ebitda), the company’s top brass announced at its inaugural investor day on Tuesday (Sep 27). “We’re living in a time – all of us – where cash is scarce. There are a lot of unknowns out there in the marketplace. As a management team, we’re committed to preserve every dollar in our balance sheet today, and we will continue to look (at) ways to cut our costs,” chief financial officer Peter Oey told investors during his presentation. Oey said that in the upcoming second-half ending in December, Grab anticipates a 27 per cent improvement in group adjusted Ebitda compared to H1. It also expects group revenue to grow by 45 to 55 per cent in 2023 on a constant currency basis. The fresh guidance comes as Grab’s share price has fallen 77.3 per cent since its debut on the Nasdaq last year, closing at US$2.81 on Monday. The tech stock continues to face volatile conditions, amid which its management is seeking to quell fears of cash burn. “We’re firing on all cylinders to improve our profitability trajectory,” said chief executive officer and co-founder Anthony Tan, adding that the company is focused on generating “high-quality” gross merchandise value (GMV).
Amazon is temporarily closing warehouses in parts of Florida as Hurricane Ian churns toward the state. The company on Tuesday shuttered sites near Tampa and Orlando, according to notices sent to employees and reviewed by CNBC. Amazon expects the facilities to remain closed until Friday, the notices state. “We will continue to monitor the weather and will provide updates on when the building will reopen,” according to one notice, which was sent to workers at a facility in the Tampa suburb of Temple Terrace. Amazon confirmed that it’s closing some sites as a safety precaution ahead of the storm. “We’re closely monitoring the path of Hurricane Ian and making adjustments to our operations in order to keep our employees and those delivering for us safe,” Richard Rocha, and Amazon spokesperson, said in a statement. “We’re in regular contact with our employees and delivery partners to ensure everyone is aware of any site closures or unsafe conditions and will continue to make adjustments as needed.” The National Hurricane Center on Tuesday upgraded Hurricane Ian to a Category 3 storm, with maximum sustained winds of 120 miles per hour. FEMA and the White House urged Florida residents to heed local officials’ evacuation warnings and not to underestimate the storm’s magnitude. The hurricane has continued to strengthen after making landfall in Cuba. Amazon is the latest company to adjust its operations as Hurricane Ian approaches the southeastern coast. The Walt Disney Company and Comcast’s Universal Studios are closing their Orlando-based theme parks ahead of the storm. Several airports in the state also announced closures.
Hertz Global Holdings is linking up with oil giant BP to build out a network of charging stations in the US, a move to help bolster the country’s electric-vehicle infrastructure. The two companies’ memorandum of understanding, announced on Tuesday (Sep 27), aligns Hertz with BP’s goal of operating more than 100,000 chargers by 2030, 90 per cent of which it says will be fast-charging. Hertz plans to electrify a quarter of its rental car fleet by the end of 2024. The deal with BP comes a week after it agreed to buy 175,000 electric vehicles from General Motors following similar purchases of battery-powered models from Tesla Inc. and Polestar. Hertz hopes to spur EV rentals by making it easier to find a charging station. “We want to be part of the solution to building out a nationwide infrastructure,” Jeff Nieman, senior vice president of operations initiatives at Hertz, said in an interview. “We’re looking at locations that will have the biggest fleets.” The agreement with BP is part of a growing network of some 3,000 charging stations available to Hertz vehicles by the end of 2022. BP got into the charging business by acquiring acquiring Amply Power. The newly-acquired company, rebranded as BP Pulse, started installing chargers at 25 Hertz locations in the US this year.
Oracle will pay about US$23 million to resolve charges its units in Turkey, the United Arab Emirates and India used slush funds to bribe foreign officials in return for business, the US Securities and Exchange Commission (SEC) said on Tuesday (Sep 27). The SEC said the Turkey and UAE units also used slush funds to pay for foreign officials to attend technology conferences in violation of Oracle policies, and employees of the Turkey unit used the funds for the officials’ families to accompany them on conferences or take side trips to California. Tuesday’s settlement includes a US$15 million civil fine and about US$7.9 million of disgorgement and interest, according to an SEC order. Oracle did not admit or deny wrongdoing in agreeing to settle. The case is the second time the SEC has charged Oracle for violating the federal Foreign Corrupt Practices Act, an anti-bribery law. In 2012, Oracle agreed to pay a US$2 million fine to settle SEC charges concerning the creation of millions of US dollars of unauthorised side funds by Oracle India from 2005 to 2007. Oracle and its lawyers did not immediately respond to requests for comment.
Oil rose about US$2 a barrel on Tuesday from a nine-month low a day earlier, supported by supply curbs in the US Gulf of Mexico ahead of Hurricane Ian and as the US dollar eased from its strongest level in two decades. Prices drew support from analyst expectations of possible supply cuts from the Organization of the Petroleum Exporting Countries and allies (Opec+), which is to meet to set policy on Oct 5. Brent crude settled at US$86.27 a barrel, up US$2.21, or 2.6 per cent. On Monday it fell as low as US$83.65, the lowest since January. US West Texas Intermediate (WTI) crude settled at US$78.50, up US$1.79, or 2 per cent. US offshore oil producers said they were keeping an eye on Hurricane Ian’s track as the powerful storm shut-in about 11 per cent of oil production in the US Gulf of Mexico as it barrelled toward Florida. The outages may only provide a momentary reprieve for oil prices, said Bob Yawger of Mizuho in New York.
Source: SGX Masnet, Bloomberg, Channel NewsAsia, Reuters, CNBC, WSJ, The Business Times, PSR
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