SINGAPORE (Oct 21): The global economic weakness has already hit many of the large and diversified companies that make up the Straits Times Index.

(See also: Singapore’s 3Q GDP up 0.6% on year in advance estimates)

The global economic weakness has already hit many of the large and diversified companies that make up the Straits Times Index.

Sembcorp Industries and Keppel Corp, for instance, have reported sharply lower revenue and earnings as their offshore and marine businesses deal with the effects of stubbornly low oil prices. Commodity suppliers such as Wilmar International and Golden Agri-Resources have also disappointed investors. And the three banks continue to deal with an unfolding debt crisis facing smaller O&M players.

As the effects of slowing global activity begin to take a greater toll on the local services industry, companies with domestically focused businesses could begin to surprise with weaker numbers.

In the last four weeks, analysts have cut their recommendations on telco StarHub, publisher SPH and property developer UOL.

Bloomberg consensus estimates show that analysts expect StarHub to report earnings of 20.7 cents a share for 2016, down from the 21.5 cents it reported in 2015. Currently, there are just two “buy” calls on StarHub. There are 11 “hold” and eight “sell” calls. The consensus price target for the stock is $3.37, on a par with Star Hub’s closing price on Oct 20. StarHub’s business of providing mobile and broadband connectivity to individuals and businesses is at risk from the potential entry of a fourth telco.

Earnings at SPH are expected to fall only slightly — from 16 cents in FY2016 ended August to 15.9 cents in FY2017. But analysts appear a lot more pessimistic about the stock. According to Bloomberg data, there are two “hold” calls and eight “sell” recommendations on the counter. The consensus target is a mere $3.29, 12.3% below SPH’s closing price of $3.75 on Oct 19.

At UOL, earnings are expected to decline to 47.7 cents a share from 49.4 cents last year. Despite those expectations for weaker financial performance, however, analysts seem largely positive on UOL’s prospects. There are eight “buy” calls and three “hold” calls on the stock. The consensus price target is $7.18, representing potential upside of 24.9% from the close at $5.75.

However, the construction industry remains a bright spot in Singapore’s slowing economy. Find out which companies analysts are currently positive on in our cover story, “Brakes On” in the The Edge Singapore (Issue 751), available at newsstands now.