The 5.2% gain in July was the STI's strongest performing month since a 6.4% gain in November 2022, with the STI trading at March levels (below 3,150) in early July, then retesting February levels (above 3,350) in late July. This brings the STI’s total return over the first seven months of 2023 to 6.5%.
Going into July, broad market sentiment was weighed by the potential impact of decelerating growth on corporate earnings and outlooks. However, the earnings season thus far has seen more upside surprises than downside surprises, in the US, across ASEAN and in Singapore. August is a particularly important month for 1HFY23 reporting in Singapore.
Seatrium led the STI constituents in July, gaining 12.8% while booking the highest net institutional inflow for the month at S$75.4 million. Keppel Corp was the STI’s second strongest performer in July and reported its highest profit on record in its 55-year history which was underpinned by the S$3.3 billion disposal gain from the divestment of the O&M business.
The STI’s 5.2% gain in July to 3,373.98 marked the Singapore benchmark’s strongest performing month since lodging a 6.4% gain in November 2022. The month saw the STI test at March levels (below 3,150) in early July, then retest February levels (above 3,350) in late July. Comparative Index returns for July in S$ terms are tabled below which take into account the USD/SGD depreciation of 1.7% to 1.33 over the month.
The 3 banks began July with a combined 44.7% weight in the STI and a 45.5% weight in the MSCI Singapore Index. The trio averaged 8.2% gains on the month.
UOB (SGX:U11) reported its 2QFY23 net Interest Income grew 31% y-o-y, while other non-interest income rose sharply on higher customer-related treasury income and strong performance from trading and liquidity management activities.
Going into July, the impact of decelerating growth on broader corporate earnings and 2H23 outlooks was a growing concern, however the earnings season thus far has seen more upside surprises than downside surprises, in the US, across ASEAN and in Singapore. The next three weeks will be particularly important for 1HFY23 reporting in Singapore, as the local earnings season presses on. DBS (SGX:D05) will report on 3 August and OCBC (SGX:O39) reports on 4 August.
For the month. the Singapore stock market booked net institutional outflow in the vicinity of S$220 million, bringing the total net institutional outflow for the past 7 months to S$2.9 billion. In July, the number of stocks that booked net institutional outflow was fairly level with the number of stocks that booked net institutional inflow.
Seatrium Led STI Stocks in July, followed by Keppel Corporation
Seatrium (SGX:S51) led the STI constituents over the month with a 12.8% price gain with S$75.4 million of net institutional inflow. During the month, the newest STI addition announced it had secured a Green Trade Finance Facility from OCBC worth an estimated S$1.04 billion. Seatrium reported revenue of S$2.9 billion for 1HFY23, and while it still reported a net loss in 1HFY23, management noted key measures are being worked on to steer the Group back to net profitability which includes the streamlining of the Group’s cost structure and the completion of the ongoing capital restructuring.
Seatrium’s acting group finance director said the company’s financial results “reflect the completion” of its combination with Keppel O&M, now known as Seatrium O&M and without the provisions for those expenses, its net loss for the period would have been S$33 million, rather than the reported S$264 million attributable net loss. Seatrium secured S$4.3 billion of new orders in 1HFY23, bringing its net order book to over S$19 billion (Including two of three contracts for the supply of the HVDC systems for TenneT) with deliveries till 2030. Renewables and cleaner/green solutions comprise approximately 40% of this net order book.
Keppel Corp (SGX:BN4) was the STI second strongest performer in July and reported its highest profit on record in the Company’s 55-year history which was underpinned by the S$3.3 billion disposal gain from the divestment of the O&M business.
Real Estate Developers, in addition to Banks were also among the strongest performing global sectors in July, coinciding with City Developments (SGX:C09) and UOL Group (SGX:U14) ranking as the STI’s third and fourth strongest stocks for the month, and DBS (SGX:D05) ranking as the fifth strongest performer on the month.
Global expectations are currently anchored to July’s US Fed Funds Rate (FFR) hike to 5.25% to 5.50% being the last hike for the current tightening cycle. There is still some 30% of the market expecting that the Fed Funds Rate will be 25bps higher going into 2024 and all four of the incoming FOMC 2024 voters, Tom Barkin, Raphael Bostic, Mary Daly, and Loretta Mester acknowledged in July that US inflation was still too high. The PCE Core Deflator returned to 4.1% in June 2023 from 4.6% in May, which is the lowest level since 3.9% in Sep 2021, however there is still much ground to cover before the gauge returns to previous 2.1% highs seen in 2018.
The current hypothesis of the Fed doves is that the full impact of past hikes is yet to be realised on inflation and given the Fed’s sub-mandate of being data dependent, the FFR is potentially at its peak.
The least performing STI constituent for the month was Hongkong Land (SGX:H78) which reported that while its 1HFY23 underlying profit was in line with 1HFY22, there was a loss attributable to shareholders of US$333 million in 1HFY23, compared to a profit of US$292 million in 1HFY22. Management noted that the figure reflected unrealised losses mainly arising from Investment Properties revaluations of US$755 million and US$133 million in 1HFY23 and 1HFY22, respectively with the 2023 revaluation loss principally attributable to the Hong Kong office portfolio following a modest decrease in market rents and a slight cap rate expansion.
|CapitaLand Integrated Commercial Trust||C38U||13,569||37.0||-93.6||2.6||9.3||6.8||1.0||1.1||5.2|
|Mapletree Logistics Trust||M44U||8,354||23.9||-7.0||9.2||-3.4||4.3||1.1||1.3||5.0|
|CapitaLand Ascendas REIT||A17U||12,337||31.5||-43.4||7.8||-14.3||3.3||1.2||1.3||4.9|
|Mapletree Pan Asia Commercial Trust||N2IU||8,652||15.8||-62.5||1.4||-22.8||1.9||0.9||1.1||5.7|
|Mapletree Industrial Trust||ME8U||6,344||10.3||-31.5||4.9||-7.0||1.4||1.1||1.5||5.9|
|Jardine Cycle & Carriage||C07||13,549||12.9||4.6||24.0||-8.3||-1.5||1.3||1.2||4.4|
|Frasers Logistics & Commercial Trust||BUOU||4,542||11.8||-20.6||8.1||-22.8||-2.4||1.0||1.2||5.8|