Just four more Straits Times Index (SGX: ^STI) companies need to report results before the curtains can come down on the first-quarter earnings season.
The four are all Jardine companies that will present their report cards for the full year. Hongkong Land (SGX: H78) said in November that it was too early to measure the future impact of the social unrest in Hong Kong. But it did say that positive rental reversions continued in the Group’s Central office portfolio, while vacancy declined from 2.8% to 2.4%.
Dairy Farm (SGX: D01) said at the time of its interim management statement that it was seeing benefits from its store transformation programme that should offset weak trading in several of its Hong Kong businesses.
Jardine Matheson (SGX: J36) Jardine Strategic (SGX: J37) both said they performed steadily with overall earnings in line with with last year. But they warned that weaker consumer sentiment has begun to affect most of its consumer businesses in Hong Kong.
On the economic front, the US is expected to report a slowdown in its non-farm payroll numbers. Just 165,000 jobs could have been created in February compared to 225,000 a month earlier. Meanwhile, the balance of trade deficit could have narrowed slightly from US$48.9 billion to US$45.8 billion in January.
China’s manufacturing and services could have contracted in February. This will partly be due to the Chinese New Year shutdown. The Wuhan virus outbreak will have affected business activity, too. Elsewhere, even though China’s exports and imports might have fallen in January and February, the country’s balance of trade could have widened from US$47.2 billion to US$57.8 billion.
And finally, the Reserve Bank of Australia and Bank Negara Malaysia are both expected to keep interest on hold at their next meeting. But it is hard to see how they can stand pat on rates when the US Federal Reserve is under pressure to cut rates in the middle of March.
Disclosure: David Kuo owns shares in Jardine Matheson, Jardine Strategic, Hongkong Land and Dairy Farm.