DAILY MORNING NOTE | 9 November 2023
Summary of Trades Initiated in Past Week
Wall Street stocks ended the day without major movement on Wednesday as investors eye upcoming business earnings and retreating Treasury yields. The Dow Jones Industrial Average edged down 0.1 per cent to finish at 34,112.80. The broad-based S&P 500 climbed 0.1 per cent to 4,382.80, while the tech-rich Nasdaq Composite Index ticked up 0.1 per cent to 13,650.41.
Gaming-related company Winking Studios is planning to raise S$8 million through an initial public offering (IPO) on the Singapore Exchange (SGX) Catalist, it announced on Wednesday (Nov 8). The Singapore-headquartered company will do so by issuing 40 million shares at S$0.20 apiece, comprising 27.2 million placement shares, with the remaining shares issued through a cornerstone investment by Acer Gaming, and Acer’s chairman and chief executive officer, Jason Chen. Chen is the majority shareholder of Acer Gaming, which has a majority shareholding in Winking Studios. The company will have a total of 279,698,275 shares post-IPO, bringing its total market capitalisation to approximately S$55.9 million, says its prospectus lodged on SGX.
Food Empire Holdings on Wednesday (Nov 8) posted a 30.6 per cent decline in net profit to US$15.7 million for its third quarter ended Sep 30. This is down from US$22.6 million in the corresponding year-ago period. The decrease in net profit was attributed to the absence of a one-off gain of US$15 million from the disposal of a non-core asset in Q3 2022, said the instant coffee manufacturer in a business update, though it added that this was partly offset by better operating profits and lower foreign-exchange losses. Revenue for the quarter fell 1.6 per cent year on year to US$106.8 million from US$108.6 million. This was mainly due to lower contributions from the group’s Russia segment resulting from the depreciation of the Russian ruble, the group said.
IReit Global on Wednesday (Nov 8) reported a rebound in occupancy rates at 90.4 per cent for the third quarter, up from 88.7 per cent in the previous quarter. The Reit manager attributed this to the addition of European discount retailer B&M’s portfolio of 17 properties, all of which are fully occupied, as well as higher occupancy among its Spanish properties. Weighted average lease expiry fell slightly to 4.9 years, from five years in June. Meanwhile, IReit Global’s aggregate leverage rose to 34.4 per cent from 33.1 per cent in the first half of the year, mainly due to new bank borrowings drawdown for the acquisition of B&M’s portfolio, which was completed on Sep 5, 2023.
Cut-off yield for the latest six-month T-bill has fallen to 3.75 per cent as demand for this round rose, according to the data on the Monetary Authority of Singapore’s (MAS) website on Wednesday (Nov 8). The bid-to-cover ratio this time was 2.31, higher than last tranche’s 2.02. Cut-off yield at the last round was also higher, at 3.95 per cent. The total amount allotted at the most recent round was S$5.7 billion, the same as last round, with S$2.3 billion allotted to non-competitive bids. The total amount applied was S$13.2 billion, and none was allotted to MAS. Approximately 98 per cent of competitive bids made at the cut-off yield were allotted, while 95 per cent of non-competitive bids were allotted.
StarHub posted a 36.5 per cent rise in net profit to S$37.3 million for the third quarter ended Sep 30, up from S$27.4 million in the corresponding period a year earlier. Total revenue grew 5.3 per cent year on year to S$622.1 million, from S$590.8 million a year ago. Service revenue for the quarter grew 8.9 per cent on the year to S$526 million, as a result of increased contributions across most business segments, as well as the consolidation of MyRepublic Broadband subscribers, said StarHub in a business update on Wednesday (Nov 8). The telco also recorded higher operating expenses, which increased by 3.9 per cent to S$568.7 million in Q3, up from S$547.1 million in the year-ago period.
Warner Bros Discovery topped third-quarter profit estimates on Wednesday (Nov 8) as the box-office hit Barbie helped offset a sluggish advertising market and a studios segment starved of content due to two Hollywood strikes. Although Hollywood’s film and television writers ratified a new, three-year contract in September, ending their 148-day work stoppage, members of the SAG-AFTRA actors union have been on strike since July, roiling the industry’s 2024 film slate and depriving media companies of new content to sell. The media company forged by the union of WarnerMedia and Discovery posted adjusted core earnings of US$2.97 billion, above estimates of US$2.92 billion. Overall third-quarter revenue of US$9.98 billion was in line with estimates. The company reported free cash flow of US$2.06 billion, compared with US$1.72 billion in the prior quarter, as it spent less on production as a result of the strikes. This surpassed expectations for US$1.74 billion. The results put the company “on track to meaningfully exceed US$5 billion (free cash flow) for the year and contributing to our nearly US$12 billion in debt paydown to date,” CEO David Zaslav said.
German logistics company DHL Group on Wednesday (Nov 8) posted a 32 per cent drop in its third-quarter operating profit and narrowed its full-year and medium-term profit forecasts as falling e-commerce demand post-Covid continues to hit its business. Earnings before interest and tax (Ebit) fell to 1.37 billion euros (S$1.98 billion) in the three months through September, the firm said in a statement. That was in line with analysts’ expectations for 1.375 billion euros, according to a consensus published on DHL’s website. Logistics companies have been racing to match costs to global demand that has fallen to pre-pandemic levels, and the entire industry is fighting for market share.
Walt Disney, embroiled in another fight with activist investor Nelson Peltz, posted better-than-expected fourth-quarter earnings and said it will seek an additional US$2 billion in cost savings. Earnings at the world’s largest entertainment company rose to 82 US cents a share, excluding some items, Disney said on Wednesday (Nov 8). That beat the 69 US cent average of analysts’ estimates compiled by Bloomberg. Revenue grew 5.4 per cent to US$21.2 billion, compared with estimates of US$21.4 billion. The profit increase and expanded cost cutting will help chief executive officer Bob Iger counter Peltz, whose Trian Fund Management controls a roughly US$2.5 billion stake in Disney and plans to seek several board seats. Iger had previously committed to cutting more than US$5.5 billion from annual expenses and has already eliminated 7,000 jobs. Disney’s flagship theme parks delivered the biggest profit boost, with earnings rising 31 per cent to US$1.76 billion in the period ended Sep 30. Revenue in the division, which includes consumer products, grew 12 per cent to US$8.16 billion, led by 55 per cent growth internationally. Losses in Disney’s streaming business, including ESPN+, narrowed to US$387 million in the quarter, coming in better than Wall Street projected. The company has said it’s seeking to turn a profit in that business by the fourth quarter of the new fiscal year just getting underway.
Roblox, the video-game platform popular among teenagers, surged after reporting third-quarter bookings and revenue that far exceeded Wall Street’s projections. Bookings jumped 20 per cent to US$839.5 million from a year earlier, the San Mateo, California-based company said on Wednesday (Nov 8), surpassing the US$822 million that analysts had estimated. The company’s popularity among young adults delivered Roblox US$81.1 million in adjusted earnings before interest, taxes, depreciation and amortisation, also exceeding expectations.
Source: SGX Masnet, Bloomberg, Channel NewsAsia, Reuters, CNBC, WSJ, The Business Times, PSR
Recommendation: BUY (Maintained), Last Done: S$0.56
Target price: TP: S$ 0.86, Analyst: Liu Miaomiao
– No financials were provided for 1Q24. Portfolio committed occupancy remains high at 99.9%, with strong rental reversion of 16.3%. We expect the momentum to continue for the rest of FY24, with 313@Somerset leading the performance as international travellers return.
– Inorganic growth in the near term is off the table and LREIT has no plan for equity fund raising (EFR).
– We reiterate our BUY recommendation with an unchanged DDM-TP of S$0.86 and FY24e-25e DPU forecasts of S$4.38 – 4.63 cents. We expect FY24e earnings will be supported by strong rental reversion and fading headwinds from the interest rate hike.
Recommendation: BUY (Maintained), Last Done: US$0.16
Target price: S$0.37, Analyst: Darren Chan
– 3Q23 distributable income of US$14.7mn (-23.4% YoY) was in line with our expectations and formed 25% of our FY23e forecast. The YoY decline was due to Prime increasing management fees paid in cash from 20% to 100%, higher interest expense, lower portfolio occupancy, and absence of lease termination income (US$1.3mn recorded in 3Q22). Excluding the change in management fees paid in cash, distributable income is down 16.6% YoY.
– Portfolio occupancy dropped to 85% from 85.6% in 2Q23, with overall rental reversions of -2%. Prime is prioritising net effective rents (deals with lower capex) over headline rents in this challenging US office environment in a bid to shore up occupancy.
– Maintain BUY, DDM-TP lowered from US$0.39 to US$0.37. FY24e DPU lowered by 7% on lower occupancy and higher finance costs assumptions. Prime is currently trading at 0.21x P/NAV. We believe that most of the negatives are already priced in. The key risk will be on the year-end valuation impact to gearing (43.7%) and bank covenants. There is a refinancing of US$484mn (69% of total) debt under its main credit facility which expires in July 24. The current share price implies FY23e/FY24e DPU yield of 30%.
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