SINGAPORE — As we approach the end of 2021, here are the top five most-searched stocks by Yahoo Singapore readers, and some of the major events that affected each company.
1. Singapore Airlines Limited (C6L.SI)
2021 is a year of recovery for Singapore Airlines. The pressure on the national carrier appears to be easing as demand for air travel picked up as many countries are slowly reopening borders.
With over 80 per cent of its population fully innoculated, Singapore is shifting its strategy to treating Covid as endemic and has opened vaccinated travel lanes with over 20 countries including the US, Australia and South Korea.
Singapore Airlines last month reported a narrower second-quarter loss due to cost-cutting efforts, record cargo revenue and an improvement in passenger numbers. It posted a net loss of S$427.6 million for the quarter ended 30 September, compared to a record S$2.34 billion loss a year earlier.
The group expects passenger capacity to reach 43 per cent of pre-COVID levels by December 2021, and aims to fly to 73 destinations, about half the destinations served in pre-COVID.
In addition, Singapore Airlines also announced its fleet of Boeing 737 Max aeroplanes will take to the skies again by the end of this year, after being grounded for more than two years.
With the recent emergence of the new COVID-19 variant Omicron, Singapore has held off on further reopening plans.
2. DBS Group (D05.SI)
DBS Group’s online banking services faced disruption two consecutive days last month, its worst outage in over a decade. The Monetary Authority of Singapore said it will consider taking “appropriate supervisory actions” following an investigation by DBS.
DBS, Southeast Asia’s largest bank by total assets, has invested heavily in recent years to digitise its core banking business and set up new technology platforms. These efforts have helped to boost the bank’s return-on-equity and helped it to adapt to pandemic-induced uncertainties.
The Group has also made steady progress in executing its asset digitalisation strategy. DBS Vickers, the brokerage arm of DBS Bank, in October received received in-principle approval from the MAS under the Payment Services Act to provide digital payment token services as a major payment institution. DBSV is working through the necessary follow-ups with a view towards meeting MAS’ requirements for a licence.
The DBS Digital Exchange (DDEx), set up last December as a members-only exchange for institutional investors and accredited investors, has onboarded 400 investors as at end-June.
DBS reported third-quarter profit surged 31 per cent to S$1.7 billion and declared dividend of 33 cents per share after the central bank lifted restrictions on dividends.
3. Oversea-Chinese Banking Corp (O39.SI)
Oversea-Chinese Banking Corp. started 2021 by announcing Helen Wong as its first female chief executive officer and the first woman to lead a Singapore bank. Wong replaced Samuel Tsien who retired after 14 years with the bank.
Wong said in a Bloomberg interview last month that OCBC Bank is considering whether to set up a crypto exchange but it won’t rush into the sector just because of its popularity.
The bank in August partnered with Eco-Business to launch the inaugural OCBC Climate Index which measures the current levels of environmental sustainability awareness and climate action among Singaporeans.
OCBC has also made strong efforts into ESG with the launch of Singapore’s first sustainability-linked structured deposit for retail investors. The bank has also launched a A$500 million senior green bond earlier this year.
Singapore second-biggest bank reported a 19 per cent rise in third-quarter net income to S$1.22 billion.
4. Tesla, Inc (TSLA)
Tesla started the year with CEO Elon Musk’s cryptocurrency controversies, saying the company has invested US$1.5 billion in Bitcoin and would start accepting the digital asset as payment. A few months later Musk suddenly announced Telsa was suspending indefinitely the acceptance of Bitcoin on concerns about the “rapidly increasing use of fossil fuels for Bitcoin mining and transactions”. In July, Musk said Tesla will likely start accepting Bitcoin again in a U-turn on his stance on the crypto.
Despite the negative headlines for the first half of the year, Tesla in October posted a record revenue and profit for the third quarter. The icing on the cake was an order of 100,000 vehicles from car-rental company Hertz. These headlines supercharged the stock and took Tesla’s market valuation to over US$1 trillion for the first time.
Another milestone for the company is official relocation of its headquarters to Austin, Texas from Palo Alto, California this month. The Austin factory, which will make the Model Y and the upcoming Cybertruck, is nearing completion.
As of 3 December, Musk had sold latest a total of 10.1 million Tesla shares — worth about US$10.9 billion. This came after Musk asked Twitter users in early November whether he should offload 10% of his Tesla stake and a majority of them approved. It’s unclear whether the poll had any actual bearing on Musk’s plans. The CEO had said months earlier he was likely to exercise a big block of stock options toward the end of the year, and he set up a trading plan to sell shares before his tweet.
Musk’s net worth fell by US $15.2 billion on 4 December as Tesla shares extended losses. Tesla was among the technology stocks that that tumbled amid fears of inflation and economic tightening.
5. NIO Inc. (NIO)
NIO Inc, a Chinese electric vehicle company widely known as the “Tesla of China”, targets premium buyers just like its rival.
NIO, whose Chinese name translates to “blue sky coming”, counts Blackrock, Vanguard Group and Goldman Sachs among its biggest investors.
The Nasdaq-listed EV company has three models: the ES8 and ES6, which are SUVs, and the EC6 coupe. It plans to launch three new models in 2022, including the ET7.
Nio offers a subscription plan for batteries. Basically, the car and the battery are sold separately. Users can buy Nio EVs without batteries for a lower price and “rent” batteries for a monthly fee. They also can swap car batteries based on their needs.
The company delivered 10,878 vehicles in November, a rise of of 105.6 per cent year-on-year, after October deliveries plunged to 3,677 units. To date, the company has made total delivery of 80,940 vehicles.
Nio is expected to start delivering its new luxury sedan, the ET7, in the first quarter of 2022. In addition to the local market, Nio is eyeing the fast-growing European market. The company has started deliveries in Norway in November, its first export market, and plans to enter Germany by the end of 2022.
Besides Tesla, Nio’s rivals in China include fellow startups Li Auto and Xpeng.
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