Singaporean stocks: a cheap play on life after Covid

Singapore is returning to normal after the pandemic, with almost every sector in the stockmarket set to benefit.

The post-pandemic era has arrived in Singapore, says Daniel Moss on Bloomberg. Last week the city-state scrapped limits on group size and office working. “Many venues will no longer require folks to check in with the government contract-tracing app.” After two years of “uber-caution”, authorities have shifted with uncharacteristic haste. Fear that “onerous rules” were denting Singapore’s position as “a premier aviation hub” helped drive the decision to re-open. Trade-dependent Singapore “cares deeply about its reputation abroad”.

“The Singapore market stands out as a shelter in the current stagflation environment,” says Paul Chew of Phillip Capital. “Almost every sector… enjoys a tailwind. Transport, telecoms, retail and hospitality, which make up 20% of the Straits Times Index (STI), will benefit from the reopening of borders. Banks, which account for 45%, will get a “huge lift” from rising rates: a one percentage point rise in interest rates could increase earnings by 18%. The tech sector – once hot, but now struggling globally – is just 2% of the STI. The biggest Singapore-based tech stock is video games and e-commerce firm Sea, which is listed in New York instead. It’s down 61% this year. 

That mix has helped the STI gain a healthy 7.5% this year (the MSCI Singapore index – which includes Sea – is down 6%). It doesn’t make up for an annualised return of just 5.2% in the five years to 31 March – partly due to its high weighting to financial stocks – compared with a global average return of 13%, but the long spell of underperformance has left it looking comparatively cheap. “Current valuations remain undemanding,” reckons Adrian Loh of UOB Kay Hian. At 3,350, the index is trading on 13.5 times forecast earnings for 2022, with a forecast yield of 4.1%. 

Recommended

China’s economy is heading for a sharp slowdown
Chinese economy

China’s economy is heading for a sharp slowdown

With a slowing property market, Covid lockdowns sapping growth and the CSI 300 stock index down by 22% this year, China’s economy is in trouble.
6 Oct 2022
5 of the world's best stocks
Share tips

5 of the world's best stocks

Concentrating on a few highly profitable companies that excel in their fields can reduce the overall risk in your portfolio, says Rupert Hargreaves. H…
6 Oct 2022
The dangers of derivatives as the “Goldilocks era” ends
Investment strategy

The dangers of derivatives as the “Goldilocks era” ends

That this is no longer a benign environment for investors, says Andrew Van Sickle. But – as the recent pension-fund derivatives blow-up shows – not ev…
6 Oct 2022
There’s still time to submit your energy meter reading to avoid a higher charge
Personal finance

There’s still time to submit your energy meter reading to avoid a higher charge

You need to submit your gas and electricity readings as soon as possible to avoid overpaying after the October energy price increase.
6 Oct 2022

Most Popular

Should you take a 25% tax-free pension lump sum in instalments?
Pensions

Should you take a 25% tax-free pension lump sum in instalments?

Taking out a 25% tax-free lump sum sounds appealing but it might not be the best way to manage your pension
30 Sep 2022
Markets may have bounced, but this is not the end of the bear market
Stockmarkets

Markets may have bounced, but this is not the end of the bear market

Stocks are back on the rise, commodities and precious metals prices are up – even the pound has rebounded. But none of this is typical of bull markets…
5 Oct 2022
October’s Premium Bonds: how to check if you are a winner
Savings

October’s Premium Bonds: how to check if you are a winner

NS&I has added almost 110,000 more prizes to October’s Premium Bond draw – are you a winner?
4 Oct 2022