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The Week Ahead: Singtel’s Dividends Eyed

Another crop of Singapore heavyweights step into the fray next week with quarterly figures.

Singapore Telecommunications (SGX: Z74) follows hot on the heels of M1 (SGX: B2F) and StarHub (SGX: CC3). Both M1 and StarHub have announced cuts in distribution to shareholders in the face of stiff competition. It is unlikely that Singtel could follow suite, given that its payout is adequately covered. But experience of the stock market should tell that that it is best to never say never.

SATS (SGX: S58) should have benefitted from the rise in passenger numbers at Changi Airport. According to the Singapore airport operator, 58.7 million passengers passed through its gates last year. That could mean more luggage to handle and more food to serve for airport services firm SATS.

Staying with air travel, Singapore Airlines (SGX: C6L) posted a sharp drop in profits in November. It blamed a sluggish global economy for its woes. It added that the airline business continues to be affected by geopolitical uncertainty.

Other companies with results include takeover target Global Logistics Properties (SGX: MC0), brewer Thai Beverage (SGX: Y92) and transportation company ComfortDelGro (SGX: CC52).

Turning to economic matters, America’s balance of trade with the rest of the world has been negative for about as long as anyone can remember. President Trump wants to change all that. But he is likely to have to put up with more red ink next week.

China will report those closely-watched Caixin Services PMI numbers next week. The index has been comfortably above 50 and rising since throughout 2016. Another set of strong numbers is essential, given that manufacturing is showing signs of coming off the boil, slightly.

And Saturday 11 Feb is Chap Goh Mei. The day, which marks the last day of Chinese New Year, is also known as Yuan Xiao. Whether you celebrate the day by tossing oranges or lighting lanterns, have a great evening.

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