Next Week’s News Today: Sembcorp Marine Under The Microscope

The blue-chip earnings season has not been nearly as bad as some have suggested it could be. But it is still early days, yet.

Keppel Corporation (SGX: BN4) set the scene for oil-services companies with a slump in both revenues and profits. Next week, it will be the turn of Sembcorp Marine (SGX: S51) to face the music.

In February, the shipbuilder reported its first quarterly loss, after it was hit by write-downs and project delays. Could there be more write-downs for Sembcorp Marine this quarter? Yangzijiang Shipbuilding (Holdings) (SGX: BS6) has numbers to report too.

Two of Singapore’s biggest banks will announce quarterly figures. Of interest will be bad debt provisions at both lenders. Last time out, United Overseas Bank (SGX: U11) said its non-performing loan ratio in 2015 was 1.4%, while Oversea-Chinese Banking Corporation (SGX: O39) said it was 0.9%.

Two other Straits Times Index (SGX: ^STI) companies with results are Jardine Cycle & Carriage (SGX: SGX: C07) and UOL Group (SGX: U14).

Over in the mid-caps, a host of Real Estate Investment Trusts (REITs) are set to throw open their books. These include Mapletree Logistics Trust (SGX: M44U), Mapletree Industrial Trust (SGX: ME8U) and Far East Hospitality Trust (SGX: Q5T).

Turning to economic matters, there are a couple of key interest-rate decisions next week. The US Federal Reserve left interest rates unchanged in March, after policymakers lowered its growth forecasts for the year. That could suggest another month of unchanged rates.

Meanwhile the Bank of Japan could push deeper in negative-interest territory by paying commercial banks to borrow money. A former deputy governor has even suggested that the central bank should consider lowering its interest rate from minus 0.1% to minus 1%.

And finally Singapore has a raft of numbers to report. These include headline inflation, which has been negative for 16 consecutive months; industrial production, which points to a section of the economy that is under pressure and bank lending, which is showing signs of coming off the boil.

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