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The Week Ahead: Can OCBC Complete A Banking Hattrick?

With more than two-thirds of the Straits Times Index (SGX: ^STI) having reported, the first-quarter earnings season will enter the home straight next week.

Genting Singapore (SGX: G13) will be the first blue chip to report next week. In February, the integrated resorts owner lifted its dividends, even though earnings fell 17%. It said that it had seen a stronger underlying performance from the leisure and hospitality segment, thanks to higher business volume.

Singapore’s second-largest bank, Oversea-Chinese Banking Corporation (SGX: O39), will also report on Monday. The bank soundly beat analyst estimates in the fourth quarter, when it posted a 31% jump in net profits. It said it had seen sustained growth momentum in banking, wealth management and insurance. But will it be able to complete a banking hattrick after the market-beating results from DBS Group (SGX: D05) and United Overseas Bank (SGX: U11)?

Tropical oil and sugar dragged down profits at Wilmar International (SGX: F34) in the fourth quarter. Revenues slid 3% because of lower sales volume and weaker selling prices. But the company said the group’s performance in 2018 should be satisfactory.

City Developments (SGX: C09) posted a 23% drop in fourth-quarter earnings, even though revenues rose around 14%. The property developer proposed a special dividend of $0.06 in addition to a final ordinary dividend of $0.08.

Profits at Thai Beverage (SGX: Y92) fell 62% because of acquisitions in the first quarter. These included a stake in Saigon Beer Alcohol Beverage (Sabeco) and Myanmar’s largest whiskey producer, Grand Royal Group.

ComfortDelGro (SGX: C52) posted a near 5% drop in full-year earnings in February. Only one of its four business segments reported a rise in operating profit, namely the bus and train division. Looking ahead, the company said the operating environment remains tough.

Other companies with results are UOL Group (SGX: U14), Singapore Technologies Engineering (SGX: S63) and Singapore Airlines (SGX: C6L).

On the economic front, the latest US inflation rate could provide some clues on the direction of American interest rates. The Fed has said that inflation is now close to its target. Currently, the headline rate of inflation stands at 2.5%, while the core rate is 2.1%.

And finally, China will report balance of trade numbers on Tuesday. In March, China imported more than it sold to the rest of the world. It was the first trade gap since February last year. However, it will be China’s surplus with the US that could be the focus of attention, given the sabre-rattling between the two countries on trade.

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The information provided is for general information purposes only and is not intended to be personalised investment or financial advice. Motley Fool Singapore Director David Kuo owns shares in DBS and UOB. The Motley Fool Singapore has recommended DBS and UOB.