Three Shares That Beat the Market Today

Last Friday, one of the most widely-followed measures of the American stock market, the S&P 500, stepped up by 0.3% to 1,859 points for a record-high closing. This marks a climb of more than 170% since the S&P 500 bottomed out around 680 points in early March 2009.

Back at home in Singapore, the Straits Times Index (SGX: ^STI) is still some way off its high of 3,876 points it reached in Oct 2007 and today’s 0.8% decline to 3,087 points didn’t help much.

Within the Straits Times Index’s 30 constituents, 22 shares had lost some ground with only seven having some gains. Let’s take a look at some shares, both within and outside of the index, that have done better than it after releasing their full-year results for 2013 last Friday evening.

ABR Holdings (SGX:533) climbed 5.2% to S$0.81. The food & beverage retail outlet operator had seen a 6.9% year-on-year growth in annual revenue to S$98.2 million while profits from its continuing operations spiked by 194% to S$8.45 million.

The company’s top- and bottom-line had grown on the back of better performance from its restaurant operations (which includes the Swensen’s brand in Singapore) both in Singapore and Malaysia.

In 2012, ABR had sold off its entire 51% stake in a subsidiary named Focus Network Agencies to the latter’s founders, Loo Lip Giam and Esther Tang Hai Hwa, for S$100 million in cash, resulting in the company logging a S$74.6 million one-time gain from the sale.

ABR also announced last week that it would begin to diversify into the property business to “provide shareholders of the Company with diversified returns and long term growth”. The property-related activities that ABR would be engaged in include “residential, commercial, industrial and hospitality property development, redevelopment, sale, lease, management and/or investment and other ancillary or complementary property-related activities.”

Combine Will International Holdings (SGX: N0Z) jumped 9% to S$0.545. The company’s full-year results saw an 80% drop in annual profits to HK$7.3 million from HK$37 million even though revenue had dipped by only 7% to HK$1.42 billion.

The “leading Original Design Manufacturer (“ODM”)/Original Equipment Manufacturer (“OEM”) of corporate premium, toys and consumer products in [China] and Hong Kong” had seen a dramatic shrinking of its gross profit margins from 11.8% in 2012 to 5.5% in 2013. This reduction in gross profits trickled down to the bottom-line, leading to the big drop in profits.

Combine Will International also warned that 2014 would “continue to be a challenging year” but that has not stopped the market from giving a big stamp of approval to the company’s results judging from its share price gains today.

Golden Agri-Resources (SGX: E5H) the best performing blue chip today with a 5.4% increase in its share price to S$0.585. The company’s price gains came despite a 24% year-on-year decline in annual profits to US$311 million from US$410 million in 2012. Golden Agri’s “core net profit”, a measure which excludes biological gains, currency losses, and other exceptional items, also saw a 21% drop to US$318 million from US$404 million a year ago.

The decline in profitability came on the back of lower crude palm oil (CPO) market prices and lower production even as the company’s annual revenue had grown by 9% to US$6.59 billion. CPO prices for 2013, in particular, were at US$797 per tonne, down 17% from US$959 per tonne a year ago.

In line with the decrease in profits, Golden Agri’s total dividends for 2013 came in at S$0.011 per share (comprised of an interim dividend of S$0.0585 per share that’s already been paid and the final dividend of S$0.0515 per share that was proposed in the earnings release), some 7.6% lower than the total dividend of S$0.0119 per share for 2012.

While CPO prices had declined in 2014, Franky Widjaja, chief executive of Golden Agri, “envisage that palm oil demand will further grow, especially from the bio-energy sector”. He added that “2014 will be more exciting for the industry” and that the company is “well-positioned to fully benefit from the strong fundamentals of the palm oil industry.”

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The information provided is for general information purposes only and is not intended to be personalised investment or financial advice. Motley Fool Singapore writer Chong Ser Jing doesn’t own shares in any companies mentioned.