By Abhishek Vishnoi and Ishika Mookerjee
(Bloomberg) -- A new mandate to govern Singapore during the pandemic can bode well for the nascent rebound in the nation’s US$383 billion stock market.
Shares of companies tied to government’s efforts to restore the economy and make it more resilient and digitised are set to benefit. Stocks such as Singapore Telecommunications Ltd., City Developments Ltd., Singapore Technologies Engineering Ltd. and some real estate trusts are emerging as top bets from financial institutions such as Citigroup Inc. and Bank of Singapore Ltd.
Singapore equities have recovered more than a third of coronavirus-induced losses amid government stimulus and a reopening of the economy, and analysts are expecting the winner of the election on July 10 to take more steps in the same direction. While still a laggard in the region this year, the Straits Times Index is projected to rise about 12% over the next 12 months, according to analysts surveyed by Bloomberg.
“With the early re-opening of Phase 2 and barring any spike in new infection cases ahead, we expect to see a recovery” in stocks in the second half, Peng Chu, an analyst at Bank of Singapore., an arm of Oversea-Chinese Banking Corp., wrote in note. “Any additional support measures from the government could be a bonus.”
Singapore, which has more than 44,000 confirmed cases of the virus, has entered the second phase of its three-stage reopening, with authorities assessing the infection situation to be under control. The government has pledged S$93 billion ($66.8 billion) in total virus relief, or 19.2% of gross domestic product, and Fidelity International Ltd. believes the city-state’s stocks may perform better than emerging Asian markets because of the scale of fiscal support.
While there is no clear correlation between Singapore’s stock market performance and elections, Citigroup’s observations show the stock benchmark’s one-month returns post polling date are historically positively linked to the ruling party’s gains in the share of votes. For example, the Straits Times Index rose 3.8% in the 30 days after 2015’s general elections in which the incumbent People’s Action Party registered a 9.8% gain in the popular vote.
The PAP has been in power since independence and is expected to remain so in this election. Still, any significant narrowing in its margin of victory could shake confidence in a new generation of leaders being groomed to take over from Prime Minister Lee Hsien Loong’s team.
“Anything less than 2/3 will be a disappointment for the incumbent given their 69.86% victory in 2015,” said Justin Tang, head of Asian research at United First Partners.
Some analysts are betting that the economic reopening and a deepening trend of remote working and shopping online will continue no matter what the election outcome.
Joel Ng, an analyst KGI Securities (Singapore) Pte., is betting that the ongoing reopening of the economy will support travel-related stocks like SATS Ltd., Singapore Airlines Ltd. and ST Engineering. Tang at United First Partners, said CapitaLand Ltd., which has retail as well as commercial properties, is likely to gain the most among some of the beaten-down stocks.
© 2020 Bloomberg L.P.