Singapore stock market investors would remember 2019 as a year of volatility on the back of US-China trade tensions, fear of recession due to the inverted yield curve, cutting of US interest rates, and protests in Hong Kong.
Despite all that, in 2019, the Straits Times Index went north by 5.02% to 3,222.8 points; but the ride up wasn’t smooth. It was one littered with many ups-and-downs, as seen from the chart below:
Even though the Straits Times Index rose for the year, some index components managed to beat it hands down, with the best performer of the lot surging more than nine times.
Here, let’s look at three of the best blue-chip stocks that performed better than the Singapore stock market benchmark.
Best Performer #1: Thai Beverage
Thai Beverage Public Company Limited (SGX: Y92) is a food and beverage company based in Thailand, and it emerged as the best performer of the Straits Times Index after rising 45.9% to S$0.89 on 31 December 2019. This is a reversal of fortunes from 2018 as the company’s shares fell more than 30%.
Sentiments surrounding Thai Beverage improved in 2019 as the Thai government’s stimulus measures helped to boost consumer purchasing power. In the previous year, weak purchasing power and high levels of debt among the low-income households caused challenges for Thai Beverage.
For the financial year ended 30 September 2019, revenue improved 16% year-on-year to THB 267.36 billion, while profit attributable to shareholders grew 30% to THB 23.27 billion.
Sales rose as Thai Beverage’s domestic beverage business showed signs of recovery, boosted by the Thai government’s stimulus measures announced in August 2019. Higher margin from the company’s beverage segments and improved profit contribution from Fraser and Neave Limited (SGX: F99) and Frasers Property Ltd (SGX: TQ5) led to higher profitability for the year.
At Thai Beverage’s share price of S$0.89, it has a price-to-earnings ratio of 21 and a dividend yield of 2.4%.
Best Performer #2: Mapletree Commercial Trust
Mapletree Commercial Trust (SGX: N2IU) slots into the second spot with a unit price growth of 44.8% in 2019 to S$2.39. This real estate investment trust (REIT) is a newcomer to the index after replacing Hutchison Port Holdings Limited (SGX: NS8U) in September 2019.
Mapletree Commercial Trust owns commercial and retail properties such as VivoCity, Mapletree Business City I, and PSA Building. The REIT was also featured as one of the 36 Singapore shares to watch this year.
Mapletree Commercial Trust performed well for FY18/19. The REIT’s gross revenue increased by 2.4% to S$443.9 million, and its net property income rose 2.6% to S$347.6 million. Meanwhile, DPU went up by 1.1% to 9.14 Singapore cents.
VivoCity, which contributes to the bulk of Mapletree Commercial Trust’s gross revenue, underwent rejuvenation for the financial year with the addition of a public library and expansion of Basement 1.
For Mapletree Commercial Trust’s first half of FY19/20, DPU grew 2.9% to 4.63 Singapore cents, up from 4.50 Singapore cents. The improvement came on the back of the progressive opening of new stores in VivoCity’s Basement 2 and Level 1, as well as NTUC FairPrice commencing operations from August 2019.
At Mapletree Commercial Trust’s unit price of S$2.39, it has a PB ratio of 1.4 and a distribution yield of 3.9%.
Best Performer #3: Mapletree Logistics Trust
Mapletree Logistics Trust (SGX: M44U) added 38.1% to S$1.74 and came in as the third-best performer of the 30-stock index. This REIT is related to Mapletree Commercial Trust as both share the same sponsor in Mapletree Investments Pte Ltd.
Mapletree Logistics Trust just joined the Straits Times Index in December 2019 after the latest review, kicking Golden Agri-Resources Ltd (SGX: E5H) out of the index.
As a quick background, Mapletree Logistics Trust is an Asia-focused logistics REIT with a portfolio of 137 logistics assets in places such as Singapore, China, and Japan. The REIT was featured as one of the 36 Singapore shares to watch in 2020 too.
For Mapletree Logistics Trust’s financial year ended 31 March 2019 (FY18/19), gross revenue improved by 15% year-on-year to S$454.3 million while its net property income grew 16.7% to S$389.5 million. The growth was mainly due to:
1) Higher revenue from the REIT’s existing properties;
2) Contribution from the redevelopment of Mapletree Ouluo Logistics Park Phase 1 in China;
3) Acquisitions in Hong Kong in the previous financial year; and
4) Acquisitions in Singapore, Australia, Korea, and Vietnam completed in FY18/19.
With that, distribution per unit (DPU) climbed from 7.618 Singapore cents to 7.941 Singapore cents, up 4.2% year-on-year.
Mapletree Logistics Trust continued its strong performance in the first half of FY19/20 with its DPU rising 3.4% to 4.05 Singapore cents. The growth came on the back of its gross revenue climbing 13.9% and its net property income improving by 19.6%.
Chief executive of the REIT’s manager, Ng Kiat, commented on the latest quarterly performance:
“Amidst growing economic headwinds, MLT [Mapletree Logistics Trust] continued to deliver steady growth in DPU this quarter, underpinned by our portfolio rejuvenation strategy. Occupancy rates remain robust although there is more caution in leasing demand. We will maintain focus on active lease management and tenant retention in this volatile market.”
At Mapletree Logistics Trust’s unit price of S$1.74, it has a price-to-book (PB) ratio of 1.5 and a distribution yield of 4.6%.
Performance of the 30 Components of the Straits Times Index
The following table shows the performance of the 30 index stocks (sorted according to percentage of price increase):
|Company||Share price on 31 December 2018||Share price on 31 December 2019||Percentage change|
|Thai Beverage Public Company Limited (SGX:Y92)||S$0.61||S$0.89||45.9%|
|Mapletree Commercial Trust (SGX: N2IU)||S$1.65||S$2.39||44.8%|
|Mapletree Logistics Trust (SGX: M44U)||S$1.26||S$1.74||38.1%|
|City Developments Limited (SGX:C09)||S$8.12||S$10.95||34.9%|
|UOL Group Limited (SGX:U14)||S$6.19||S$8.32||34.4%|
|Wilmar International Limited (SGX:F34)||S$3.12||S$4.12||32.1%|
|Singapore Exchange Limited (SGX:S68)||S$7.15||S$8.86||23.9%|
|CapitaLand Limited (SGX:C31)||S$3.11||S$3.75||20.6%|
|Venture Corporation Limited (SGX:V03)||S$13.95||S$16.2||16.1%|
|Ascendas Real Estate Investment Trust (SGX:A17U)||S$2.57||S$2.97||15.6%|
|Singapore Telecommunications Limited (SGX:Z74)||S$2.93||S$3.37||15.0%|
|Keppel Corporation Limited (SGX:BN4)||S$5.91||S$6.77||14.6%|
|CapitaLand Commercial Trust (SGX:C61U)||S$1.75||S$1.99||13.7%|
|Singapore Technologies Engineering Ltd (SGX:S63)||S$3.49||S$3.94||12.9%|
|ComfortDelGro Corporation Limited (SGX:C52)||S$2.15||S$2.38||10.7%|
|DBS Group Holdings Ltd (SGX:D05)||S$23.69||S$25.88||9.2%|
|CapitaLand Mall Trust (SGX:C38U)||S$2.26||S$2.46||8.8%|
|SATS Ltd. (SGX:S58)||S$4.66||S$5.06||8.6%|
|United Overseas Bank Limited (SGX:U11)||S$24.57||S$26.41||7.5%|
|Oversea-Chinese Banking Corporation Limited (SGX:O39)||S$11.26||S$10.98||-2.5%|
|Singapore Airlines Limited (SGX:C6L)||S$9.42||S$9.04||-4.0%|
|Genting Singapore Limited (SGX:G13)||S$0.975||S$0.92||-5.6%|
|Singapore Press Holdings Limited (SGX:T39)||S$2.35||S$2.18||-7.2%|
|Sembcorp Industries Ltd (SGX:U96)||S$2.54||S$2.29||-9.8%|
|Hongkong Land Holdings Limited (SGX:H78)||US$6.41||US$5.75||-10.3%|
|Yangzijiang Shipbuilding (Holdings) Ltd. (SGX:BS6)||S$1.25||S$1.12||-10.4%|
|Jardine Cycle & Carriage Limited (SGX:C07)||S$35.35||S$30.10||-14.9%|
|Jardine Strategic Holdings Limited (SGX:J37)||US$36.958||US$30.65||-17.1%|
|Jardine Matheson Holdings Limited (SGX:J36)||US$68.163||US$55.60||-18.4%|
|Dairy Farm International Holdings Limited (SGX:D01)||US$9.05||US$5.71||-36.90%|
On the other end of the winner-loser spectrum, the worst performers of the Straits Times Index for 2019 were companies with a business focus in Hong Kong, such as Dairy Farm, Jardine Matheson, Jardine Strategic, and Hongkong Land.
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Disclaimer: The information provided by Seedly serves as an educational piece and is not intended to be personalised investment advice. Readers should always do their own due diligence and consider their financial goals before investing in any stock. The writer has a vested interest in some of the companies mentioned.