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Next Week’s News Today: Banking On Profits

Guess what? It is another holiday-shortened trading week in Singapore next week. Markets are closed on Friday for Labour Day, so we can take a break from monitoring our portfolios, whether we like it or not.

The rest of the week, though, is chock-a-block with company results to digest and economic data to sift through.

Bank should feature highly next week with numbers expected from DBS Group (SGX: D05) on Monday, followed by OCBC (SGX: O39) and UOB (SGX: U11) on Thursday.

The three banks posted solid fourth-quarter results last time out to end the financial year on a high note. However, provisions for loan losses showed signs of creeping higher. They inched up at UOB; rose at DBS and climbed at OCBC. This quarter’s figures could be eyed closely for signs of deterioration in their loan books.

Jardine Cycle & Carriage (SGX: C07) step into the spotlight on Wednesday. The industrial conglomerate will be hoping for a strong Jokowi-effect, given that that it generates nearly 90% of its revenue from Indonesia. Elsewhere, Singapore shipbuilder Sembcorp Marine (SGX: S51) is pencilled in for quarterly numbers on Monday.

On the economic front, Japan will report March Retail Sales on Monday. The numbers for both January and February looked a little discouraging. But the fall was largely due to a drop in fuel sales, which was caused by lower energy prices, which is a good thing. Meanwhile, sales growth at supermarkets and general retailers were respectable.

Staying in Japan, the Land of Rising Sun is not expected to be the Land of Rising Rates, when it announces its latest interest-rate decision on Wednesday. Japan has stuck steadfastly with a zero interest rate policy and there are scant signs that it will abandon ZIRP, any time soon.

And finally, the US Federal Reserve will announce its latest decision on interest rates next week. Interest rates have remained at 0.25% since 2008. While the Fed has notably dropped its pledge to be “patient” on rates, it did say that a rate hike in April was unlikely. So we can all breathe normally, for now.

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