Daily Morning Note – 31 May 2021


U.S. futures edged up Monday and Asian stocks were set for a steady start as investors continue to weigh inflation risks and await key U.S. jobs data to gauge the strength of the economic recovery.

Equity contracts were little changed in Japan, Australia and Hong Kong after U.S. stocks notched their fourth-straight monthly advance. Treasury yields ticked back below 1.60% on Friday. There is no cash trading in Asia amid holidays in the U.S. and U.K.


SG News

A unit of Keppel Land is buying 60 per cent of Phuoc Kien Construction Investment Joint Stock Company for about S$21.6 million. This will allow Keppel’s unit – VN Prosperity – to jointly develop a landed housing project in the Nha Be District of Ho Chi Minh City, Vietnam.

Q&M Dental Group will not proceed to set up a surgical mask manufacturing company with partners, as announced more than a year ago. This is after it and its partners failed to meet definitive terms under a non-binding memorandum of understanding (MOU), as made public on March 11, 2020, Q&M Dental said in a regulatory filing on Saturday.

Electronics manufacturing services provider Valuetronics has reported a net profit of HK$187.1 million (S$31.9 million) for the financial year ended March 31, 2021. This is a 4.6 per cent increase compared with its previous financial year. Overall revenue fell 3.1 per cent to HK$2.28 billion, but gross profit rose 6.5 per cent to HK$386.2 million in FY2021.

Entertainment group mm2 Asia posted a net loss of S$92.7 million for its financial year ended March 31, 2021, with its major businesses in movie-making and film distributions taking a severe beating from the Covid-19 pandemic, the company said in a bourse filing. Comparatively, it reported a net profit of S$3.3 million in FY2020, which ended March 31, 2020.

US News

The U.S. has reported the lowest number of Covid-19 cases in more than a year, as the nation’s airports over Memorial Day weekend experienced the largest number of travelers since the pandemic began. The 11,976 new cases reported on May 29 were the lowest since March 23, 2020, when 11,238 new cases were reported, according to data from Johns Hopkins University. The seven-day average of 21,007 is the lowest since March 31 of last year, when it was 19,363.

A key inflation indicator rose a faster-than-expected 3.1% in April as price pressures built in the rapidly expanding U.S. economy, the Commerce Department reported Friday. The core personal consumption expenditures index was forecast to increase 2.9% after rising 1.9% in March. Federal Reserve officials consider the measure to be the best gauge for inflation, though they watch a number of metrics.

US retailers are struggling to meet demand as surging consumer spending combined with shortages of shipping containers, trucks and warehouse space push inventories to historic lows and spark fears over stock levels for the holiday season. Chains from Costco to Dollar Tree have warned in recent days that port congestion is raising freight costs and lengthening the time it takes to bring goods into the US. Stores that carried about one-and-a-half months’ worth of stock before the pandemic had their inventories to sales ratio fall to just 1.1 by March, the lowest level since at least 1992, US Census Bureau data show.

America’s liquefied natural gas exporters are unveiling efforts to slash carbon emissions from new facilities as they look to keep new multibillion-dollar projects on track amid mounting climate pressures. The US has emerged as an LNG export powerhouse in recent years thanks to explosive growth from the country’s shale oil and gasfields, emboldening American claims of energy independence and handing Washington a useful new tool to counter geopolitical foes such as Russia. But for a handful of companies racing to build new projects that could propel the nation’s exports yet higher, the global crackdown on emissions and heightened focus on methane pollution from US oil and gasfields has threatened to derail their plans.

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


Singapore Telecommunications Ltd – Help from Bharti and A$

Recommendation: NEUTRAL (Maintained); TP S$2.32, Last close: S$2.42;

Analyst Paul Chew

– FY21 revenue met but EBITDA was below, at 91% of our FY21 estimate. Excluding exceptionals, PATMI declined 22% in 2H21.

– Bharti’s (BHARTI IN, Not Rated) turnaround and a 9% appreciation of A$ in 2H21 boosted earnings. Final DPS was slashed by 56% to 2.4 cents.

– Exceptional losses of S$1.1bn in 2H21 included impairment of S$589mn for Amobee and S$336mn for Trustwave. Hat trick of write-offs plus Hooq totalled S$1.18bn in the past two years.

– Singtel announced a new strategic direction with an emphasis on 5G consumer and enterprise in Singapore and Australia, NCS as a new engine of growth and value-unlocking of infrastructure assets. No surprises. We are wary of value-unlocking as it is unclear whether it will involve disposals or mere refinancing.

– We reduce FY22e EBITDA by 13% to factor in weaker Singapore mobile and Australia broadband earnings. Maintain NEUTRAL with SOTP TP lowered to S$2.32 from S$2.44, incorporating lower associate valuations. Outlook is sluggish with minimal growth in core operations and indifferent dividend yields of 3.7%.

Sembcorp Industries – Transition to be a leading pan-Asian provider of sustainable solutions

Recommendation: Neutral (Downgrade), Last Done: S$2.20

Target price: S$2.07, Analyst: Terence Chua

– Sustainable solutions portfolio to be 70% of profits by 2025. Urban business land sales to triple to 500 hectares by 2025.

– ROE of 10% and gross debt to equity at 1.3x by 2025 from 3.2% and 2.3x respectively.

– We raise our target price to S$2.07 from S$1.77 as we peg SCI to 1.0x FY21 P/B, up from 0.85x previously, as we believe the detailed layout of its five year plan will drive a re-rating of the stock. However, as most positives have been priced in, and its ambition of transforming its portfolio is not new, we downgrade from ACCUMULATE to NEUTRAL.

SG Bonds Weekly – Week 22

Credit Analyst: Timothy Ang

– Activity in the Asia credit space ramped up, with an 89% increase in number of deals printed versus the previous week.

– Lendlease Global Commercial Real Estate Investment Trust and OUE Commercial Real Estate Investment Trust both issued new bonds last week.

– 2 outstanding mandates remain from last two weeks.

>> Read more research reports

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