Singapore loves dividends, Australia most generous

Singapore loves dividends, Australia most generous

By: 
Bloomberg
09/01/18, 02:51 pm

(Jan 9): Dividend-dependent investors were best served by the Asia-Pacific region last year, with Australia’s benchmark index offering the highest yield among developed countries and Singapore providing nearly ubiquitous payouts.

Singapore and the Philippines led the world in the proportion of companies that made or pledged dividend payments, with about 97% of companies in both Singapore’s Straits Times Index and the Philippine Stock Exchange PSEi Index having an ex-dividend date for the 12 months through Dec 31, according to an analysis of about 70 national equity benchmarks by Bloomberg.

In fact, eight of the top nine markets with the most prevalent payout ratios were from the region, with South Africa as the only outlier. Thailand, Hong Kong, India, Malaysia, Australia and China were the other leaders, with more than 90% of companies in their benchmark gauges offering dividends. 

By contrast, 70% of Standard & Poor’s 500 Index member stocks set at least one ex-dividend date in 2017. Japan was even more of a laggard among advanced markets, with only 20% of Nikkei 225 companies declaring payouts.

Australia’s S&P/ASX 200 Index offered the highest dividend yield among developed markets -- 4.18% -- followed by Norway at 4.08% and the UK’s 4.02%. The MSCI EAFE, a gauge of developed-markets that doesn’t include the US, closed the year with 3.02%. The yield for S&P 500 companies averaged 1.89%, with figures based on gross payout. Australia’s benchmark index has consistently yielded 4% or more this decade.

Bloomberg research excluded dividend types that are neither recurring, such as partnership distribution, nor those that signify less than positive prospects, such as discontinued and liquidating dividends. The ratio of index members paying dividends was based on companies with at least one ex-dividend date, or the last day the owner is entitled to receive the payment should he or she decide to sell the stock during the calendar year.

A new tax law taking effect in the US this year may see an earnings bump, particularly for those domiciled outside of the country. Research firm IHS Markit predicts annual dividend growth to slow to 7.7% in the US, one percentage point below the 2017 rate, yet noted the reforms could potentially push the eventual growth rate above 10%.

At the end of 2017, 31 companies in the S&P gauge were incorporated outside of the US, including some involved in the biggest inversion deals in recent years: semiconductor-maker Broadcom, through its merger with the Singapore-based Avago Technologies, and pharmaceuticals firm Mylan NV setting up in the Netherlands after buying some generic-drugs assets from Abbott Laboratories.

US sanctions on Huawei could backfire

SINGAPORE (May 27): It was only to have been expected. After nearly a year of pressure that failed to stop Huawei Technologies Co’s expansion -- especially in the rollout of the next generation 5G wireless network globally -- in its tracks, US President Donald Trump signed an executive order effectively barring American firms from doing business with the Chinese telecommunications equipment company. The inclusion of Huawei on the US Department of Commerce’s Bureau of Industry and Security’s (BIS) Entity List means that companies would need to apply for a waiver to supply goods with 25....
Read More >>

Annica chairman Ong quits just as $33 mil goes missing at his law firm JLC

SINGAPORE (May 27): Jeffrey Ong, managing partner of law firm JLC Advisors, may have given instructions to pay out a sum of $33.2 million held in escrow by his firm for a client, Allied Technologies. According to Allied’s statement filed with Singapore Exchange on May 23, the payment may have been “unauthorised”, citing a letter it received from JLC on May 22. Allied’s statement did not specify who the payment was made to. Ong also abruptly resigned as non-executive chairman of Annica Holdings on May 20. In a May 22 filing with SGX, Annica CEO Sandra Liz Hon Ai Ling said Ong resigne....
Read More >>

SGX RegCo sees targeted approach in enforcement, more powerful market discipline

SINGAPORE (May 27): Tan Boon Gin, CEO of stock exchange regulator Singapore Exchange Regulation, says the market can expect a stronger regulatory presence. “You will see a series of enforcement cases coming up quite soon,” he tells The Edge Singapore. Tan’s assertion comes amid significant changes in the market as sentiment remains lacklustre and investors’ expectations change. The local stock market has gone through significant upheaval, not least because of the penny stock crash in 2013 that wiped out some $8 billion in value from the market. The event dented investor sentiment, a....
Read More >>