Daily Morning Note – 4 January 2021
US stocks ended a tumultuous year with the Dow and S&P 500 at records, as the three major US equity indices notched solid-to-spectacular yearly gains despite an economy upended by the Covid-19 virus, as investors looked to a post-pandemic world.
The gains, which sent the Dow and S&P to record highs to close out the year and the Nasdaq to a record earlier this week, were fuelled in part by massive fiscal and monetary stimulus put in place to buttress the economy reeling from the coronavirus fallout, as well as progress on a vaccine.
Still, data on Thursday was a reminder the economy still has a lengthy recovery ahead as weekly initial jobless claims, while declining for a second straight week to 787,000, remained well above the peak of the 2007-2009 Great Recession.
All eyes are on two US Senate races in Georgia this week that will determine control of the chamber and influence Democratic President-elect Joe Biden’s ability to enact his agenda.
Tencent’s online games were removed and then reinstated on Huawei’s app store in a dispute over revenue sharing by the Chinese companies. Huawei was insisting on a 50% cut of Tencent’s game sales on the app store. The games were reinstated on the app store after further negotiations, Tencent said, adding that “both sides will continue to work together to bring better experiences and services to consumers”.
Drugmakers including Pfizer, Sanofi, and GlaxoSmithKline plan to raise US prices on more than 300 drugs in the United States on Jan 1, according to drugmakers and data analysed by healthcare research firm 3 Axis Advisors. The hikes come as drugmakers are reeling from effects of the Covid-19 pandemic, which has reduced doctor visits and demand for some drugs.
Macau casinos ended their worst year on record with little sign of progress in a recovery, though hopes remain for a rebound in the world’s largest gambling hub later in 2021. Gross gaming revenue fell 66 per cent to 7.82 billion patacas (S$1.29 billion) in December from a year earlier, according to data from the Gaming Inspection & Coordination Bureau.
Microsoft said that the far-reaching Russian hack of US government agencies and private corporations went further into its network than the company had previously understood. While the hackers, suspected to be working for Russia’s SVR intelligence agency, did not appear to use Microsoft’s systems to attack other victims, they were able to view Microsoft source code by accessing an employee account, the company said.
Kweichow Moutai said its revenue rose about 10 per cent for 2020, the slowest growth in five years, as the world’s most valuable distiller remains cautious in raising prices of its prized liquor to avoid attention from China’s regulators. Moutai remains an investor darling as its status as China’s national drink and a closely guarded recipe have kept demand strong, even during the coronavirus pandemic.
Keppel Corporation chief executive Loh Chin Hua says he is “cautiously optimistic” about 2021, after what has been a tumultuous year for both the company and the broader global economy. Since the start of October, the company has announced divestments of more than S$1.2 billion. With this, Mr Loh says Keppel is well on its way to meet its asset monetisation programme of S$3 billion to S$5 billion over the next three years.
Property group Metro Holdings is expanding its Singapore footprint through the acquisition of a 26 per cent stake in a portfolio of 14 properties for an investment amount of up to S$76.6 million. The portfolio comprises six industrial properties, one business park, four high-spec industrial properties and three logistics properties.
GSH Corporation has obtained loan facilities of up to S$150 million in an agreement dated Dec 31, 2020, the mainboard-listed property developer announced on Sunday. In a regulatory statement, the company said that the agreement requires that the controlling shareholder Sam Goi Seng Hui and his family including his siblings do not reduce their stakes in GSH to 35 per cent or below.
Source: SGX Masnet, The Business Times, Bloomberg, Channel NewsAsia, Reuters, PSR
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