Stocks gain in first half while T-bill yields stay high: Weekly Recap

By Gerald Wong, CFA • 29 Jun 2024 • 0 min read

Stocks performed well and the T-bill yield stayed high as Fed rate cuts are delayed.

In this article

The first half of the year has gone by in the blink of an eye.

The theme that investors were focused on in the past few months was artificial intelligence (AI), which propelled stocks like Nvidia to record highs.

Coincidentally, one of the lessons I learnt in the first half of the year came from Nvidia's CEO Jensen Huang.

At a recent commencement speech at Caltech, he shared an encounter at the Silver Temple in Kyoto where he observed a gardener painstakingly tending to the moss with a bamboo tweezer.

Puzzled, Huang walked up to him to ask what he was doing, in which the gardener replied "I’m picking dead moss. I’m taking care of my garden."

Huang then asked further, "But your garden is so big." The gardener responded, "I have cared for my garden for 25 years. I have plenty of time.”

The profound lesson here is that when you dedicate yourself to your craft and your life's work, you have plenty of time. 

Likewise when investing, patience over time is what allows the power of compounding to work. The good news for those who prefer safer investment options is that there are more options to earn a decent yield on our investments as interest rates stay high. 

This week, we saw that the SSB allotment has remained fairly high despite a bounce in SSB returns. 

Looking ahead, we share what to expect for the upcoming 6-month T-bill auction on 4th July, and find out if bond ETFs are a good complement to T-bills to earn an attractive yield 

We also share how you can choose the best cash management account if you prefer more liquidity compared to the T-bill. 

I hope our team's work will set you up for a fruitful second half of the year, and more importantly, kickstart your long term financial success.

Gerald, Founder of Beansprout

⏰ This week in markets

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Source: Bloomberg. Price as of market close on 28 June

💪 Stocks gain in first half

What happened? 

The Straits Times Index (STI) ended the first half of 2024 on a positive note, reaching close to its year-to-date high of 3,356.

This mirrors gains in major US stock indices, with the S&P 500 gaining more than 14% so far this year with improving sentiment towards tech stocks. 

What does this mean?

The strength in the stock markets is largely driven by unexpected resilience in the US economy, as consumer spending and the jobs market continue to hold up despite elevated interest rates. 

At the same time, a boom in artificial intelligence (AI) led to a rally to stocks linked to the theme.

Lastly, easing inflation has provided investors with more confidence that the Federal Reserve may cut interest rates later this year. 

Why should I care? 

Going into the second half of 2024, investors will likely remain focused on the timing and pace of interest rate cuts.

The US Presidential Election and what it may mean for the country’s policy direction will also be closely watched by investors. 

If you are looking at a simple way to gain broad-based exposure to the stock markets, check out our guides on how you can gain do so Exchange Traded Funds (ETFs) below:

🚗  MOVING THIS WEEK

  • ST Engineering announced a new S$120 million 7.5MW data centre in Singapore, bringing its total capacity to over 30MW from across four data centres. The new capacity is part of its planned 300MW allocation to data centres. 
  • OCBC said that it will take Great Eastern (GE) private only if “conditions are acceptable and in the interests of OCBC and its shareholders”. As of 6pm on 26 June 2024, OCBC and its concert parties has garnered 90.24% of the shares in GE.
  • Sembcorp Industries signed power purchase agreement with GSK for its Singapore manufacturing sites. The contracts have tenures of up to 10 years commencing from 1 Jan 2025 for up to 10MW of electricity.
  • Keppel Infrastructure Trust’s 51%-owned Keppel Merlimau Cogen Pte Ltd secured a S$612.5 million sustainability linked loan to refinance existing loan. Under the new facility, principal and interest will be payable every six months. 
  • IREIT Global’s main tenant of its Berlin Campus will not be extending its lease, which is due to expire on Dec 31, 2024. The tenant, German pension insurance company Deutsche Rentenversicherung Bund (DRV), was the trust’s top tenant by rental income, contributing about 20 per cent of the Reit’s total gross income.

Source: Bloomberg, CNBC, Business Times, Edge Singapore

💡 THE BIG IMPORTANT STORY

OCBC offers to privatise Great Eastern. What should shareholders do?

OCBC announced a voluntary unconditional general offer for the 11.56% stake in Great Eastern Holdings Limited (GE) that it did not own at an offer price of S$25.60 per share.

ocbc great eastern geh offer

🤓 WHAT WE’RE LOOKING OUT FOR THIS WEEK

  • Monday, 1 July: Singapore Savings Bonds (SSB) application opening date
  • Thursday, 4 July: Singapore 6-month T-bill auction, US FOMC meeting minutes 
  • Friday, 5 July: US nonfarm payroll data

Check out the full list of Singapore stocks, REITs and ETFs with upcoming dividend payments with our dividend calendar

Source: SGX, Bloomberg, Refinitiv

Join the Beansprout Telegram group for the latest insights on Singapore stocks, REITs, bonds and ETFs. 

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