SINGAPORE (June 14): Many investors may not be aware that the Straits Times Index (STI) maintains one of the highest dividend yields across stock markets in Asia Pacific.

As of June 9, 14 out of the 30 STI constituents maintain an indicative dividend yield of at least 3%. Among this group of stocks that have averaged a 10.6% dividend-inclusive return in 2017 YTD are Singtel and OCBC.

Even less are aware there are 33 other stocks beyond the STI with market capitalisation of at least $1 billion that have averaged a higher 15.2% dividend-inclusive return and also maintained a dividend yield of at least 3%.

In the latest SGX My Gateway e-newsletter emailed out on June 12, Geoff Howie, market strategist at the Singapore Exchange, points out that 95 primary listings and 13 secondary listings have been listed in Singapore with market capitalisation greater than $1 billion. And out of those listed, 45 stocks or almost one in two of these stocks have maintained a dividend yield of at least 3%.

This is a comparatively high ratio when it comes to the share of large-cap stocks that maintain high dividend yields. For instance, of all the primary-listed stocks across Asia Pacific with a market capitalisation of at least $1.0 billion, the ratio of those stocks that maintain dividend yields greater than 3% is closer to one-fifth.

The same one-fifth ratio applies to the primary-listed stocks of the United States. Hence, of all the regional and US-listed of stocks with market capitalisation greater than $1 billion, one in five stocks of those stocks maintained a dividend yield at or above 3.0%.

The billionaire stocks with at least 3% dividend yield have a average dividend inclusive return of 13.8% in 2017 YTD. The five best performers included Yangzijiang Shipbuilding, Wheelock Properties, Venture Corp, Hong Leong Finance and Frasers Centrepoint.