Top News this Week (28 Feb)

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Rounding up top investing articles from around the web, including articles shared by fellow investors in the Financial Horse Facebook Group.


Singapore must ensure it can build back reserves, should need arise to draw on them again: DPM Heng (Straits Times)

Singapore expects to draw $42.7 billion of past reserves for the last financial year. With the Government obtaining Madam Halimah’s in-principle support to utilise up to $11 billion in FY2021, it is expected to draw up to $53.7 billion from the reserves since the onset of the coronavirus pandemic.

In a Facebook post published as MPs began debate on Budget 2021 in Parliament, Mr Heng acknowledged that drawing on past reserves for the second year in a row was a “difficult” decision.


China’s Sinovac Covid-19 vaccine arrives in Singapore, but is not yet approved for use (Straits Times)

Singapore received its first shipment of China’s Sinovac vaccine on Tuesday (Feb 23) but has yet to authorise it for use, said the Health Ministry (MOH) on Wednesday (Feb 24).


5 Companies with Revenue CAGR above 20% for the Past 3 Years (Investor-One)

An individual company’s compound Annual Growth Rate (“CAGR”) for company’s revenue highlights the growth in turnover for the company across a specific period of time.

With a revenue CAGR of 20% and above, it shows that either the company is still in the early stage of development or they might be actively engaging in merger & acquisition to pursue high topline growth:

  • BRC Asia Limited (SGX: BEC)
  • Bukit Sembawang Estate Limited (SGX: B61)
  • Halcyon Agri Corporation Limited (SGX: 5VJ)
  • Moya Holdings Asia Limited (SGX: 5WE)
  • Singapore Medical Group Limited (SGX: 5OT) 

Newly-launched GetGo enters Singapore car-sharing market (Straits Times)

bout 400 cars from Lion City Rentals – a company formerly owned by Uber – have been taken out of cold storage and leased to a new start-up looking to get a slice of the car-sharing pie. GetGo was launched on Thursday (Feb 25) and aims to roll out 400 vehicles across 300 locations islandwide by the end of March to meet what it says is growing demand.


Cathie Wood Funds Whipsawed Amid Record Outflows, Rate Spike (Bloomberg)

Cathie Wood’s main exchange-traded funds whipsawed on Wednesday as bond yields surged anew and data showed investors pulled a record amount of cash from the firm during this week’s tech selloff. After its stellar run of inflows and triple-digit returns in 2020, bearish bets have been mounting in the ETF. Short interest has risen to the highest on record, at more than 3% of the available shares in the fund, according to data from IHS Markit Ltd.


Oil Prices Jump After Texas Storm Skews US Output Data (Investing.com)

Oil prices hit 13-months highs again Wednesday after the U.S. government reported that crude production across the country fell by more than a million barrels per day last week after the mega snowstorm that blanketed Texas, the energy heartland of the country. The Energy Information Administration also reported a surprise crude stockpile build of 1.3 million barrels last week, versus market expectations for a draw of 5.2 million barrels.


Bitcoin is cratering again, showing why people should be cautious before investing in cryptocurrency (CNBC)

First, Tesla CEO Elon Musk tweeted over the weekend that the price of bitcoin seemed high just as the currency surpassed a $1 trillion market value. Then, on Monday, Treasury Secretary Janet Yellen said that bitcoin is an “extremely inefficient way of conducting transactions.”

If you are going to assign part of your portfolio to a speculative asset like bitcoin, take a disciplined approach and impose rules for buying and selling, said David Sacco, an economics professor at the University of New Haven. “You can get experience and not blow yourself up in the process,” he said.


Singapore authorities freeze 2 firms’ bank accounts over alleged nickel trading fraud (Straits Times)

Singapore authorities have frozen the local bank accounts of commodity trader Envy Global Trading and Envy Asset Management following an investigation into their nickel trading, Envy Global Trading said on Monday (Feb 22). The development follows a string of scandals involving Singapore trading firms that have shaken investor and banker confidence in the sector over the last year when some commodities, including nickel, have rallied strongly.


Budget debate: Anti-discrimination legislation needed to strengthen Singaporean core, says Patrick Tay (Straits Times)

“Perhaps, it is time for us to seriously deep dive and consider, beyond mere tripartite advisories, guidelines and standards, to promulgate anti-discrimination legislation to give a stronger set of teeth to existing institutions like the Tripartite Alliance for Fair and Progressive Employment Practices (Tafep),” he said.

Mr Tay noted that some PMETs viewed the increase in qualifying salary for foreign talent as raising their minimum wages, alongside other concerns that employers might not give commensurate pay hikes to Singaporeans employees who perform similar jobs. He added that he has also heard of employers who “downgraded” employment pass holders to S Pass holders to comply with the policy changes, although these workers were performing the same job function.


Singapore bank OCBC signals recovery as credit costs ease (CNA)

The bank reported a lower-than-expected drop in quarterly profit and joined larger peer DBS Group in signalling a pick-up in growth after a difficult year. “OCBC is well positioned for recovery,” said Kevin Kwek, a senior analyst at Stanford C Bernstein. “The beat came from good cost control with some help from stabilising margins, even though loan growth was expectedly weak and provisions stayed relatively high.”


Industry players should not ‘stoke exuberant sentiments’ in property market: Indranee Rajah (Today)

The property sector has remained buoyant despite the Covid-19 pandemic.Private home prices rose 2.2 per cent last year even as the economy fell into a recession, while resale prices for Housing Board flats climbed by their highest since 2012, amid a spike in buying activity.”Prospective property buyers should be mindful of their ability to service mortgage obligations given the uncertain economic outlook and the protracted recovery in the domestic labour market, before making long-term financial commitments.”


Moutai’s $80 Billion Rout Sends Signal for China’s Stock Market (Yahoo Finance)

Kweichow Moutai Co. investors are selling their shares at the fastest pace in more than two years, a warning for a market that owes much of its rally to a handful of large caps.

The biggest stock listed in mainland China has lost $80 billion since onshore markets reopened after the Lunar New Year holiday. Wednesday’s 5.1% drop put Moutai’s five-day decline at 16%, the biggest for such a period since October 2018. The company had rallied 30% this year through its Feb. 10 record close.

Momentum trades are cracking after the CSI 300 Index briefly surpassed its 2007 closing peak. Chinese traders were griping about a lack of market breadth before the holiday and extreme valuations for some of the most-loved stocks. Less than 10 companies accounted for half of the returns on the benchmark — including Moutai — with foreign investors and domestic mutual funds compounding the problem by buying the most liquid megacaps.


China stocks lead losses in Asia-Pacific as the country keeps benchmark lending rate unchanged (CNBC)

  • The one-year loan prime rate (LPR) in China was left unchanged at 3.85%, largely in line with expectations of traders and analysts in a Reuters snap poll.
  • The five-year LPR was also kept steady at 4.65%.
  • The Australian dollar changed hands at $0.7868 after a jump late last week from around $0.776. Earlier, the currency had risen to as high as $0.7908, its highest since early 2018, according to Reuters.

Biden signs executive order to address chip shortage through a review to strengthen supply chains (CNBC)

  • President Joe Biden signed an executive order Wednesday meant to address a global chip shortage impacting industries ranging from medical supplies to electric vehicles.
  • The action follows calls from bipartisan members of Congress and industry leaders warning about the potential consequences of the shortage.
  • The Covid pandemic has underscored issues with U.S. reliance on supply chains abroad in many areas, including semiconductor manufacturing.

GameStop shares soar more than 100% amid executive shuffle (CNBC)

  • GameStop announced Tuesday that its chief financial officer Jim Bell will resign on March 26.
  • Sources familiar with the matter told Business Insider that Bell did not leave willingly, but was pushed out by Ryan Cohen, co-founder of Chewy and GameStop board member.
  • GameStop was embroiled in an epic short squeeze last month.

US stocks rebound as tech-led sell-off eases (FT)

US stocks clawed back losses to end a wild trading day higher after Federal Reserve chairman Jay Powell signalled he had no immediate plans to change monetary policy despite the rising growth and inflation expectations that have been roiling markets.

Tech stocks have sold off sharply since last week as investors tried to price in the risk that faster inflation and rising long-term interest rates could pose to record-high equity market valuations. At the end of Tuesday’s session, some tech darlings had bounced back, with Amazon and Google-parent Alphabet ending the day in positive territory. High-flyers such as Tesla and Square still closed lower, however, and the rotation away from faster-growing companies weighed on many stocks that had benefited as consumers stayed at home during the pandemic.


Sembcorp to stay invested in Myanmar despite rising political tensions (Business Times)

SEMBCORP Industries will continue to be invested in Myanmar as it regards its power business there as a “very important infrastructure asset” even as fresh protests rock the country following the recent military coup.


No significant funds from Myanmar companies and individuals found in Singapore banks: MAS (CNA)

Several countries, including the United States, the United Kingdom and Canada have in recent days imposed sanctions on Myanmar’s military over the coup, including freezing assets and imposing travel bans against individual members of the military.

“MAS expects financial institutions to remain vigilant to any transactions that could pose risks to the institution, including dealings with companies and individuals subject to financial sanctions by foreign jurisdictions,” the regulator said in response to queries about funds from Myanmar companies and individuals in banks in Singapore.


Myanmar maid Piang Ngaih Don’s suffering and death should never have happened: Josephine Teo (Yahoo News)

Teo was reacting to the horrific abuse case involving Piang Ngaih Don, a 24-year-old maid from Myanmar, who died after she was killed by her employer Gaiyathiri Murugayan due to repeated choking. “The Government takes the protection of FDWs seriously and will let the law run its course. The suffering and death of Ms Piang should never have happened. Abuse is abhorrent, whoever the victims are. When it involves FDWs, all the more we have to act,” Teo said.


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