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The Week Ahead: Can DBS Match OCBC and UOB

Can DBS Group (SGX: D05) outshine Oversea-Chinese Banking Corporation (SGX: O39) and United Overseas Bank (SGX: U11)? The two Singapore banks have set a high bar for DBS Group. Both banks reported strong lending figures for the second quarter. Last time, DBS only managed to increase profits slightly. It will have to do better if it wants to steal the limelight from UOB and OCBC.

A quartet of Jardine companies will report numbers. In March Jardine Strategic (SGX: J37) reported a strong set of full-year numbers last time, thanks to a good performance by Hongkong Land (SGX: H78). In March the Hong Kong developer posted a 66% jump in annual profits after a revaluation of its investment properties.

Other Jardine-related companies that will report include Jardine Matheson (SGX: J36), Jardine Cycle & Carriage (SGX: C07) and supermarket owner Dairy Farm Holdings (SGX: D01). The pan-Asian retailer benefitted from better margins in foods and stronger contributions from associates and joint ventures.

StarHub (SGX: CC3) posted disappointing first-quarter numbers in May. Revenue was virtually flat, while operating profit was down by around a fifth. Investors might want to hear about the telecom company’s strategy to counter competition in mobile and pay TV.

Other companies with results include Genting Singapore (SGX: G14), CapitaLand (SGX: C31), Sembcorp Industries (SGX: U96) and property developer UOL Group (SGX: U14).

On the economic front, the US will report some closely-monitored labour data. The unemployment rate is expected to be unchanged at 4.4%. The non-farm payroll is forecast to be lower at around 180,000. The average hourly earnings are predicted to be a bit higher, though.

China will report its latest set of Purchasing Manager Indices. They are all expected to be above 50, which could indicate that the world’s second-largest economy is still finding ways to expand.

Unemployment in the Eurozone is still expected to be stubbornly high. In May it was 9.3%. The figure for June is forecast to remain above 9%. Youth unemployment has been a problem. This could continue to persist.

The Bank of England is not expected to make any changes to interest rates next week. The UK’s central bank is also forecast to keep the level of its bond-buying programme at £435 billion.

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