3 Blue Chips Near Their 52-Week Highs


At its current level of 3,260 points, Singapore’s stock market barometer, the Straits Times Index (SGX: ^STI), is just 1.6% away from its 52-week high of 3,311 points seen early last month.

And, it’s not alone in being close to that landmark; there are a few of the index’s constituents that are also trading near their respective 52-week highs as well. Let’s delve into three with the smallest gaps between their current prices and their 52-week highs.

1. United Overseas Bank (SGX: U11)

The bank reached a 52-week high of S$22.82 just early last month and is currently within touching distance of it at its current price of S$22.61.

Yesterday, United Overseas Bank announced that Mrs Lim Hwee Hua, who was the first woman to be appointed a full Cabinet minister in Singapore (she’s since stepped down from politics), has been appointed as an independent non-executive director and member of the bank’s Board Risk Management Committee.

Lim has good experience in the boards of publicly-listed companies given that she currently also serves as a non-executive director of Jardine Cycle & Carriage and Stamford Land Corporation.

For the first quarter of 2014, net earnings at United Overseas Bank grew 9.2% year-on-year to S$788 million on the back of strong net interest income and lower taxes from the write-back of prior years’ income taxes.

Mr Wee Ee Cheong, Deputy Chairman and Chief Executive Officer of the bank, feels that his bank’s robust balance sheet and disciplined approach to growth will augur well in driving sustainable growth in long-term value for the bank’s shareholders. In addition, United Overseas Bank is looking to “seize regional wholesale and wealth management opportunities”.

Currently, United Overseas Bank is trading at 1.4 times its historical book value and has a dividend yield of 3%. The bank’s second quarter results will be released on 31 July 2014.

2. SIA Engineering Company (SGX: S59)

At the time of writing, shares of SIA Engineering are going at S$5.07 apiece. The aircraft engineering firm saw a 52-week high of S$5.17 last May and is now just 2% away from it.

For its latest financial year ended 31 March 2014, the company’s revenue went up by 2.7% year-on-year to S$1.2 billion while net profit dipped slightly by 1.6% to S$265.7 million. The company will be holding its Annual General Meeting at Marina Mandarin Singapore on 21 July 2014.

Going forward, SIA Engineering thinks that “the aviation industry faces competitive challenges, [thus] exerting pressure on MRO rates.” This is despite the fact that regional airlines are growing and generating demand for maintenance, repair, and overhaul services (SIA Engineering’s bread and butter). The company said it will “remain focused on initiatives to improve productivity and efficiency, to enhance [its] competitive position”. The overall performance of the engineering outfit is expected to remain stable.

The firm is valued at a historical PE of 21 and sports a dividend yield of 3.9%.

3. Jardine Strategic Holdings (SGX: J37)

Almost exactly a year ago, Jardine Strategic Holdings reached a 52-week high of US$37.64. At the conglomerate’s current share price of US$36.37, it needs to gain just 3.5% more to hit that mark again.

For the full year ended 31 December 2013, Jardine Strateic Holdings’ revenue grew 2% year-on-year to US$61.4 billion while its net earnings decreased by 7% to US$1.7 billion.

For 2014, the firm expects that the “overall performance for the year will be affected by the continuation of last year’s uneven market conditions, a reduced contribution from Hongkong Land’s (SGX: H78) residential completions and a weaker average exchange rate for the Indonesian rupiah”.

Jardine Strategic Holdings is valued at 24 times its historical earnings and has a dividend yield of 0.7%.

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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 contributor Sudhan P doesn’t own shares in any companies mentioned.