Top News this Week (21 Apr)


Rounding up top investing articles from around the web, including articles shared on Twitter.

Marina Bay Sands sees profit surge 51.5% to $811.4 million in Q1 on tourism boom (Straits Times)

Marina Bay Sands (MBS) reported a record performance in the first quarter of 2024, with profit surging 51.5 per cent year on year.

Its adjusted property earnings before interest, taxes, depreciation and amortisation stood at US$597 million (S$811.4 million) for the three months to end-March, up from US$394 million a year ago. 

This came as revenue rose 36.8 per cent to US$1.16 billion from US$848 million in the first quarter of 2023.

MBS helped drive up the earnings of its parent company, casino giant Las Vegas Sands (LVS), that were announced on April 17.

Condo rents inch up after 7-month decline; volumes recover: SRX, (Straits Times)

Property analysts from OrangeTee and ERA Realty attributed the rise in demand for condo rentals to the narrowing price gap between condos and HDBs.

This has made condos a more attractive option for some tenants, said Ms Christine Sun, chief researcher and strategist at OrangeTee Group.

In contrast, Huttons chief executive Mark Yip believes the stronger leasing demand could be due to more landlords compromising on reasonable rents.

“Rather than leaving their condo units empty, landlords would prefer to rent out their units to at least cover their mortgage instalments and taxes,” Mr Yip said.

He added that it is less likely to be the case of tenants moving from the HDB market to the condo market as the rental gap is still substantial.

Echoing the sentiment, chief data and analytics officer Luqman Hakim said: “With strong demand for cheaper rentals as inflation hits, HDB rentals still remain more affordable compared to condos despite the softened condo rental market.”

For chief research officer Nicholas Mak, the recovery observed in March was just a “technical re-bounce” and does not indicate a reversal of the overall trend of weakening rental demand.

S’pore oceans ambassador Rena Lee makes Time magazine’s list of 100 most influential people of 2024 (Straits Times)

As Singapore’s Ambassador for Oceans and Law of the Sea Issues and Special Envoy of the Minister for Foreign Affairs, Mrs Lee had helped broker the high seas treaty, a historic agreement that lays the groundwork for international collaboration to protect the areas outside of national jurisdictions.

Also known as the Marine Biodiversity of Areas Beyond National Jurisdiction (BBNJ) Agreement, it was a treaty more than 15 years in the making, including over four years of formal talks.

More than 190 nations agreed on the text of the treaty at UN headquarters in March 2023, after a 40-hour negotiation session chaired by Mrs Lee. At the conclusion of the session, Mrs Lee, who is in her 50s, announced to thunderous applause: “The ship has reached the shore.”

After chip breakthrough, Huawei launches fresh lineup of phones to challenge Apple in China (CNBC)

  • Huawei launched the Pura 70 series of smartphones on Thursday in a bid to continue its resurgence in China and ramp up its regional challenge to Apple.
  • It’s the latest sign of growing confidence from Huawei, after the company last year quietly launched its Mate 60 smartphone, which sported a high-end chip.
  • Huawei has packed the devices with premium smartphone features and at price points that directly compete with Apple’s iPhone 15 range.

BP trims down executive team, picks new head of its gas and low carbon energy business (CNBC)

  • BP on Thursday said it was simplifying its organizational structure “to grow the value” of the business.
  • William Lin replaces Anja-Isabel Dotzenrath as the new head of the firm’s oil and low carbon energy business.
  • The company announced Emeka Emembolu as the new lead of BP’s technology functions, taking over from Leigh-Ann Russell, who is due to leave the group.

Skytrax names the best airports of 2024 — and Singapore’s Changi is no longer No. 1 (CNBC)

Singapore’s Changi Airport has lost its pole position as the world’s best airport to Doha’s Hamad International Airport, according to air transport rating firm Skytrax. 

This is the third time Hamad International Airport clinched the top spot, after winning the title in 2021 and 2022.

Travelers of more than 100 nationalities participated in the Skytrax survey, which also named Hamad International Airport as the best airport in the world for shopping.

Changi Airport has been crowned the world’s best airport 12 times by Skytrax, including winning first place consecutively from 2013 to 2020, and again in 2023.

In this year’s survey, the city-state’s airport won the titles of “Best Airport in Asia” and the “World’s Best Airport Immigration Service.”

TSMC beats first-quarter revenue and profit expectations on strong AI chip demand (CNBC)

  • TSMC beats revenue and profit expectations in the first quarter on strong AI chip demand.
  • TSMC is the world’s largest producer of advanced processors and counts companies such as Nvidia and Apple as its clients.
  • A strong demand for AI chips is being led by the proliferation of large language models such as ChatGPT and Chinese clones.

Cisco debuts new AI-focused security system after $28 billion deal to buy Splunk (CNBC)

  • Cisco on Thursday launched HyperShield, a new security product that uses AI to protect applications, devices, and data across data centers, clouds, and physical locations.
  • The move follows Cisco’s acquisition of Splunk, which the enterprise tech titan bought for $28 billion earlier this year.
  • Jeetu Patel, Cisco’s executive vice president, said HyperShield was designed with a new world of digital AI assistants like ChatGPT in mind.

Apple investing US$250 million to expand Singapore campus in Ang Mo Kio (CNA)

Apple has announced plans to pump in over US$250 million (S$340 million) to expand its Ang Mo Kio campus in Singapore.

Two buildings acquired in 2022, which are next to its existing offices, will undergo a major upgrade. This will bring “three unique spaces together to foster greater collaboration for Apple’s growing teams”, the tech giant said in a statement on Wednesday (Apr 17).

‘Singaporeans need to level up’: Companies say flexi-work could push them to hire overseas (CNA)

As flexi-work becomes the norm in Singapore, employers said they may rethink hiring local staff and look overseas for recruitment.

Under tripartite guidelines announced on Tuesday (Apr 16), companies in Singapore must fairly consider employees’ requests for flexible work arrangements from December. 

If flexible work arrangements become the norm, employers can grow their teams remotely, reducing their dependence on locally based employees, said Mr Sim.

“It will start to be more challenging for employees to look for a job … because employers will now truly compare their abilities and pay package against possibilities of hiring remotely overseas.”

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