Investors are expected to take a cautious stance ahead of an expected Fed rate increase and the possibility of further hikes later this year, with banks slated to be potential beneficiaries, but oil-related counters will likely to be dragged by the overnight slump in crude oil prices.
U.K. Prime Minister Theresa May will trigger Article 50 in the final week of March, setting in train Britain’s two-year, slow-motion exit from the European Union. For all the anticipation, the occasion threatens to be as dull as it is momentous. Formally, all that is required to begin the process of disentangling 40 years of political and economic cooperation is a letter.
Closer to home, 2 am tonight will be the interest decision, market probably expecting some profit taking today. Dividend paying counters such as Starhub has taken a beating as a rate hike will render Starhub current dividends unattractive. While this is only one side of the challenge, personally I think it is more important to note if the dividend payouts are stable and consistent.
Technically, STI is expected to range bound between 3,120 and 3,150.
Stocks to watch:
*Centurion: Received a 9-month lease extension for its 8,600-bed Westlite Tuas dormitory, which constitutes 25% of its total bed capacity in Singapore, wef 29 Apr ’17. MKE last had a Hold with TP of $0.41.
*Sunright: 1HFY17 net profit grew 31% to $2.4m, as revenue rose 9% to $70.1m, stemming from increased contribution from burn-in, testing and electronic manufacturing services. Margins were augmented by reduced raw materials and consumables used. NAV/share at $0.582.
*Vibrant: 3QFY17 net profit slumped 85.2% to $1.3m, dragged by lower associate income of $0.4m (-85%) due to reduced takings from Plaza Ventures and Figtree. Revenue of $53.5m (+23.6%) was supported contribution from the government resettlement housing development projects in Jiangyin, China, but partially offset by a dip in freight and logistics sales following the disposal of the loss-making ISO tanks business. Gross margin expanded to 28.9% (+1.3ppts), while bottom line was weighed by a fair value loss of $0.8m (3QFY17: $7.3m gain) and lower FX gain of $0.4m (-87%). NAV/share at $0.623.
*Ipco: 3QFY17 net profit fell 12% to $5.3m on a 18% drop in revenue to $12.2m, due to lower demand for burn-in boards by semiconductor manufacturers, as well as a decline in natural gas piping installations to new households in China. NAV/share at $0.02.
*Spackman: Acquiring Korean movie equipment rental firm Frame Pictures for KRW900m (US$0.8m) and 1.63% of share capital in 24.53%-owned Spackman Media Group. This will narrow pro forma FY16 LPS to US$0.37¢ from US0.56¢.
*Atlantic Navigation: Awarded a one-year charter contract for its lift boat worth US$44m, attached with two one-year extension options. The vessl is expected to be deployed in early-May after the completion of retrofitting work.
*Regal Int’l: Entered into a project management cum construction agreement with an independent third party, for the development and construction of 20 units of terrace houses and eight units of spektra plus terrace houses in Kota Samarahan, Sarawak, Malaysia. The third party is the 1.44ha land owner and developer of the project.
*KrisEnergy: Appoints Kelvin Tang, VP of Legal and President of its Cambodian operations as COO wef today and promoted Sally Ting to General Counsel. Meanwhile, founding executive directors Richard Lorentz (director of business development) and Chris Gibson-Robinson (director of E&P) will step down from the board on Apr 24 and become advisers to the CEO, a post that remains vacant.
*Swiber: Unable to pay the upcoming coupon for its CNY450m 7.75% fixed rate notes due on Mar 20. Company is under judicial management and remains suspended.