The Week Ahead: Has Sembcorp Marine Turned A Corner?

Another crop of Straits Times Index (SGX: ^STI) step up to the rostrum next week.

Sembcorp Marine (SGX: S51), which will report on Monday, said in October that several rigs that had been due for deliver had been deferred. It also said its bottom line had been hurt by higher financing costs, foreign exchange impact and losses from associates. But there are signs that the worst could be over for the offshore services company.

Sembcorp Industries (SGX: U96) may be linked marine services through its investment in Sembcorp Marine. But there is another string to its bow – utilities. In the last quarter, Sembcorp Industries posted a 55.9% drop in profits, while revenues fell 10.8%.

There are hopes that the strong surge in fourth-quarter profits at CapitaLand (SGX: C31) might be repeated by City Development (SGX: C09) on Thursday. In November, City Developments posted a 60% rise in net profits thanks primarily to the divestment of its Hong Kong listed City e-Solutions. Elsewhere, diversification has helped the property developer sidestep the downturn in the Singapore property market.

Other companies with results are Wilmar International (SGX: F34), Golden Agri-Resources (SGX: E5H) and UOL Group (SGX: U14).

On the economic front, the US Fed will publish the minutes of its latest meeting. In February, the committee kept interest rates unchanged at 0.75%. The discussion during the meeting could provide clues as to whether a rate-hike in March is likely.

China will report its latest house price data for new homes in 70 cities. For the last four months house prices have risen by more than 10% year on year. Last month, prices in Beijing jumped 25.9%. In Shanghai it rose 26.5%.

Eurozone inflation is reckoned to have increased 1.8% year on year in January. It would be the highest rate since February 2013. The rise in inflation to the long-term average of 2% could make it harder for the European Central Bank to maintain its policy easy money.

Singapore will report its latest inflation numbers. After two years of negative inflation, consumer prices rose 0.2% in December. They are expected to have risen again in February. The headline rate could be 0.4%.

Monday is Washington’s birthday. So the US markets will be closed.

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