Welcome to another edition of top stock highlights where we feature interesting happenings and trends from around the world.
IMAS, NUS and NTU
In yet another boost for financial literacy, the Investment Management Association of Singapore (IMAS) has collaborated with two of Singapore’s top universities, the National University of Singapore (NUS) and Nanyang Technological University (NTU), to help students better understand investing.
IMAS is launching an investment competition for the former and a sustainable investing module for the latter.
For NUS, the competition will be launched during the orientation period to help students better understand both investing and the fund management industry.
A game called “Let’s Invest Together”, designed by fintech start-up Optimai, will tap on real data to simulate actual investment outcomes and educate participants on how to manage their investment portfolios.
This game will also be featured during NTU’s Nanyang Business School’s (NBS) Career Day on 12 September.
As for the sustainable investing module, NBS will incorporate it as an elective under its Careers Future Forward course to raise awareness of ESG issues in the finance industry.
For this initiative, IMAS has collaborated with the abrdn Sustainability Institute (APAC) to propagate the principles of sustainable investing to the students.
Monetary Authority of Singapore
Singapore’s central bank, the Monetary Authority of Singapore (MAS), has reported a net loss for the first time in nine years.
It incurred a loss of S$7.4 billion for the fiscal year ended 31 March 2022 due to a combination of inflation, tighter monetary policies, and uncertain global growth.
The main reason for the poorer performance was due to the strength of the Singapore dollar, which appreciated 4% against the British Pound, 5% against the Euro, and 9% against the Japanese Yen.
As a result, foreign exchange translation losses were incurred to the tune of S$8.7 billion, more than wiping out S$4 billion of investment gains.
MAS also incurred higher interest expenses on domestic money market operations.
Given the results, the central bank will not contribute to the nation’s consolidated fund for the fiscal year just ended.
Meanwhile, Singapore’s core inflation is projected to peak at between 4% to 4.5% in the current quarter before declining slightly to between 3.5% to 4% by the end of 2022.
Technology giants slow down hiring
With the spectre of a recession looming large, many technology giants have either frozen hiring, started layoffs, or rescinded job offers.
These corporate moves add to mounting worries that a severe slowdown will hit the economy, depressing demand and causing revenue and profits to tumble.
Alphabet (NASDAQ: GOOGL), the parent company of search engine Google, will slow down its hiring for the rest of 2022.
iPhone manufacturer Apple (NASDAQ: AAPL) is slated to slow hiring and spending at some of its divisions as it anticipates a slowdown in demand.
Meta Platforms (NASDAQ: META), the parent company of Facebook, WhatsApp and Instagram, is slashing its engineer hires by at least 30% as CEO Mark Zuckerberg anticipates “one of the worst downturns in recent history”.
Technology giant Microsoft (NASDAQ: MSFT) has eliminated some jobs as part of a corporate reorganisation and is freezing new job openings indefinitely.
Streaming giant Netflix (NASDAQ: NFLX) had let go of 150 employees in May and another 300 in June as it reported subscriber losses for its first quarter.
And electric car maker Tesla’s (NASDAQ: TSLA) CEO Elon Musk has announced that the company will let go of 10% of its salaried workforce over the next three months because of the “shaky economic environment”.
Singapore tourist arrivals
It’s good news for Singapore’s tourism industry as visitor arrivals hit a new post-pandemic record for the fifth straight month.
Close to 544,000 visitors arrived at our shores in June, up from the 418,458 in May.
However, this level is just one-third of the 1.6 million visitors that flew over here in June 2019.
For the January to June period this year, tourists from Indonesia and India made up the bulk with those from Malaysia and Australia also logging six-digit numbers.
International tourists are expected to hit between four to six million in 2022, announced the Singapore Tourism Board.
Over at Singapore Airlines Limited (SGX: C6L), the number of passengers has also continued to grow.
Source: Singapore Airlines’ Operating Statistics; Author’s Compilation
June saw a 13.7% month on month increase to 1.94 million, which was also a more than 14-fold jump from the 132,600 logged a year ago.
Should this momentum continue, the airline can continue to enjoy higher load factors and ticket sales.
Meanwhile, Changi Terminal 4 is set to reopen on 13 September 2022.
Disclaimer: Royston Yang owns shares of Apple, Alphabet and Meta Platforms.