The Straits Times Index (STI) comprises the 30 largest and most actively traded stocks in Singapore. They include well-known Singapore companies such DBS, SingTel, CapitaLand, Keppel Corp and Wilmar.
This is why it is often used as the benchmark return for Singapore investors. Investors who are experienced or prefer to embark on active investment strategies will try to beat the benchmark returns, while new investors or those who prefer to embark on a passive investment strategy will try to match the benchmark return.
The simplest way to match the benchmark return will typically invest in the STI exchange traded fund (ETF) – either the SPDR STI ETF or the Nikko AM Singapore STI ETF.
For more experienced investors or those investing actively, they will need to beat the benchmark returns, otherwise, it would not have made sense to spend the time, energy and effort to invest actively. We look at 10 companies that delivered the best returns, and outperformed the benchmark in 2019.
What Was The Benchmark STI Return In 2019?
The easiest way to measure the benchmark returns is to look at the factsheet of one of the two STI ETFs listed in Singapore. In 2019 (as at 30 Nov 2019), the STI returned 8.2%. This is the total return, made up of both share price appreciation and dividend distributions. According to FTSE (as at 29 Nov 2019), the STI has a dividend yield of approximately 4.2%.
We also need to note that it is not possible to invest directly in the index, and we need to invest in one of the two STI ETFs. When we invest in the STI ETFs, we will also never be able to exactly match the STI returns. This is mainly due to the 1) brokerage commissions that we have to pay upfront to invest in it, 2) management fees and other associated costs , and 3) tracking error when the fund tries to replicate any changes to the STI.
10 Companies That Beat The STI In 2019
For those who managed to beat the STI in 2019, they would have likely invested in these 10 companies that outperformed the index, as at 17 Dec 2019.
Read Also: Complete Guide To Investing In The STI ETF
#10 Sasseur REIT (SGX:CRPU)
Total returns in 2019: 53%
Share price at the start of the year: $0.65
Share price today: $0.895
Dividend yield: 7.3%
Based in China with four outlet malls in its property portfolio, Sasseur REIT was the 10th best performing stock listed in Singapore. It is also one of three REITs to be ranked among the top 10 SGX-listed stocks.
Despite ranking within the top 10 best performing stocks on SGX in 2019, Sassuer REIT experienced a net institutional outflow of $23 million during the year.
#9 Ascendas Hospitality Trust (SGX:Q1P)
Total returns in 2019: 54%
Share price at the start of the year: $0.77
Share price today: $1.12
Dividend yield: 5.1%
Ascendas Hospitality Trust is the second REIT placed in the top 10 best performing SGX-listed stock in 2019.
Unfortunately, we will not be seeing this counter on SGX for much longer as the REIT is going to be merged with Ascott Residence Trust on 3 January 2020.
#8 Keppel DC REIT (SGX:AJBU)
Total returns in 2019: 60%
Share price at the start of the year: $1.35
Share price today: $2.04
Dividend yield: 3.2%
Rounding up the three REITs on this list is Keppel DC REIT. As the first pure-play data centre REIT listed in Asia, Keppel DC REIT leverages on the upswing in technology and data usage in Singapore and globally owning 17 data centres in Singapore, Malaysia, Australia, Germany, the Netherlands, Ireland, UK and Italy.
#7 Hi-P International (SGX:H17)
Total returns in 2019: 80%
Share price at the start of the year: $0.885
Share price today: $1.47
Dividend yield: 3.3%
In the technology segment, Hi-P International is focused on manufacturing for the telecommunications, consumer electronics and electrical, data storage, life sciences and medical, automotive industries in China, Singapore, USA and Europe.
#6 UMS Holdings (SGX:558)
Total returns in 2019: 83%
Share price at the start of the year: $0.57
Share price today: $0.99
Dividend yield: 3.5%
Also in the technology space, UMS Holdings is a high-precision components manufacturer and electromechanical assembly and final testing service provider to customers in the semiconductor, pharmaceutical, electronics, machine tools, aerospace and oil and gas sectors.
#5 Sunpower Group (SGX:5GD)
Total returns in 2019: 89%
Share price at the start of the year: $0.325
Share price today: $0.605
Dividend yield: 0.3%
In the top 5 best performing SGX stock, Sunpower Group, provides engineering services and high-end manufacturing to the clean energy sector and has also invested in a thermal power plant in China.
#4 Frencken Group (SGX:E28)
One-stop solutions provider in the medical, semiconductor, analytical, industrial automation, automotive and consumer electronics sectors, Frencken Group is another technology company on the list.
Total returns in 2019: 129%
Share price at the start of the year: $0.42
Share price today: $0.91
Dividend yield: 2.4%
#3 AEM Holdings (SGX:AWX)
Total returns in 2019: 142%
Share price at the start of the year: $0.82
Share price today: $1.89
Dividend yield: 2.1%
AEM Holdings provides customised solutions to advanced manufacturers across industries including electronics, life sciences, chemical, instrumentation and aerospace.
#2 Rex Holdings International (SGX: 5WH)
Total returns in 2019: 242%
Share price at the start of the year: $0.056
Share price today: $0.2
Dividend yield: –
Rex International is in the business of exploration and development of energy assets. Using its proprietary technology, Rex International is able to pinpoint the location of oil reservoirs in the sub-surface using seismic data.
Since listed in 2013, REX International has achieved two offshore discoveries in Oman and Norway. The group also provides its proprietary screening technology as a service to other oil companies.
#1 Global Invacom Group (SGX:QS9)
Total returns in 2019: 340%
Share price at the start of the year: $0.035
Share price today: $0.164
Dividend yield: –
The best performing SGX stock is Global Invacom, in the business of providing electronic manufacturing services to customers in the satellite communications and computer industries.
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