Q1 corporate earnings dip 3.5%

Q1 corporate earnings dip 3.5%

SINGAPORE companies reported weaker profits for the first three months of the year as banks outperformed and transport and commodity companies disappointed.

Data compiled by BT for companies with a financial first quarter that ends on March 31 show total net profit for 353 listed companies at $7.7 billion, down 3.5 per cent from the same period last year. About a quarter of these companies were in the red - slightly more than a year ago.

Of the 260 companies in the black, about half made higher profits and two-fifths made lower profits. The remainder went from losses to profits.

CIMB research head Kenneth Ng said in a Sunday note that misses outnumbered outperformers and investors thus could not stray from the "safety bubble" of stocks with yield and earnings visibility.

"Tellingly, EPS (earnings per share) cuts are coming from most of the externally exposed sectors," he said.

"As with all bubbles, this one will burst eventually also, but in the meantime, as the names go up, it will be painful to sit it out."

Analysts are neutral on the Singapore market. They point out that while it is a defensive market with quality companies, there are more attractive options.

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