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10 Companies On The SGX That Beat the Straits Times Index (STI) in 2021

As always, hindsight is always 20/20


The local bourse, the Straits Times Index (STI) had been range-bound for the most part of 2021, trading between 3240 to 3040. In comparison, the Nasdaq and S&P500 indices in the United States increased by 56% and 26%, respectively.

No wonder a few local investors shun Singapore-listed stocks in favour of US-listed counters, such as Tesla (up 46%) and Apple (up 32%), which moved higher with the US indices in 2021.

However, should investors really stay away from the Singapore stock exchange?

Read Also: STI and S&P500: How Much Would You Have Gained (Or Lost) If You Started Investing In 2021 Using Dollar Cost Averaging (DCA)?

What was the STI Return in 2021?

At the end of 2021, the Singapore benchmark index – Straits Times Index (STI) delivered a return of around 9.75%. When taken into account the STI’s 2020 performance, this translates to still being lower than the highs of 2020.

Investors preferring to achieve market returns may choose to invest in any of the two STI ETFs – SPDR STI ETF and Nikko AM Singapore STI ETF, both of which also give dividends.

Read Also: SPDR STI ETF VS Nikko AM STI ETF: What’s The Difference Between These 2 STI ETFs Listed On The SGX?

However, for investors who feel the market returns are too low, you may have to deploy stock-picking strategies to outperform the market. Though we may not know which strategy will perform well in 2022, we can glean some insights from the stocks that performed well last year.

Read Also: How Much Would Singapore Investors Have Earned If They Invested $1,000 In Every IPO On The SGX In 2021?

We have listed the top 10 most traded stocks that outperformed the benchmark index in 2021.

Top 10 Most Traded Stocks That Beat The STI in 2021
No Stocks Code Current Market Cap
S$M
Sector Total Return for 2021 (%)
1 RH PetroGas T13 1,450 Energy/ Oil & Gas 579
2 iFast AIY 2,176 Technology (Hardware/ Software) 176
3 CFM 5EB 19 Industrials 156
4 The Place Holdings E27 412 Consumer Cyclicals 135
5 Propnex OYY 607 Real Estate (excl. Reits) 133
6 Yinda Infocomm/Totm Tech 42F 183 Telecommunications 114
7 SPH T39 3,822 Consumer Cyclicals 114
8 Rex Intl 5WH 428 Energy/ Oil & Gas 109
9 ISDN I07 318 Industrials 81
10 Thomson Medical A50 2,248 Healthcare 68

#Data sourced from SGX

#10 Thomson Medical (SGX:A50)

Share price gain in 2021: 68%

Share price at the start of 2021: $0.05

Share price at the end of 2021: $0.084

Dividend yield/Distribution Per Unit (DPU): 0.18% / SGD 0.00015

Market Capitalisation: $2,248 million

Thomson Medical Group is one of Asia’s largest healthcare players specialising in obstetrics and gynaecology. The stock saw a surge of 144% after its earnings announcement for the first half ended in Dec 31, 2020. The group posted a net profit of $8.1 million, which is a reversal from its loss of $1.9 million for the same period, a year ago.

The surge from the earnings announcement was not sustained for long, as the stock performance declined in the following months and ended the year with a 68% upside.

The management has expressed their cautious optimism about the demand for private healthcare in Southeast Asia as they look to expand the group’s presence in overseas markets.

#9 ISDN Holdings (SGX:I07)

Share price gain in 2021: 81%

Share price at the start of 2021: $0.40

Share price at the end of 2021: $0.725

Dividend yield/Distribution Per Unit (DPU): 1.12% / SGD 0.008

Market Capitalisation: $318 million

ISDN Holdings is an engineering solutions company specialising in integrated precision engineering and industrial computing solutions. ISDN reported strong earnings in 2021, including its highest profit ever seen in a quarter.

ISDN’s stock price reached a high of $0.85 in the second half of 2021, before ending lower. The stock generated an 81% return, excluding any dividends for 2021.

CGS-CIMB Research analyst William Tng has a target price of $1 on ISDN. He reasons the valuation on the potential cost savings from the upgrade of the group’s IT infrastructure and opines that ISDN’s valuation can improve once the company is able to share the potential profit from the operation of two of its three mini-hydropower plants in Indonesia.

#8 Rex Intl (SGX:5WH)

Share price gain in 2021: 109%

Share price at the start of 2021: $0.146

Share price at the end of 2021: $0.305

Dividend yield/Distribution Per Unit (DPU): nil

Market Capitalisation: $428 million

Rex International is an oil exploration and production company and offers investors direct exposure to the oil and gas sector. It has two oil-producing fields located offshore Oman and Norway.

Rex reported its highest semi-annual revenue since listing in 2013, owing to higher production and oil prices in the first half of 2021. This resulted in the price of the stock reaching a high of $0.37 before closing the year at $0.305 for a gain of 109% in 2021.

UOB Kay Hian’s research analyst, Llelleythan Tan has a target price of $0.46 based on the October 2021 report. This valuation is based on a rising oil price trend and the resulting expectation of higher revenue and net profit.

Furthermore, with plans to upgrade its listing from the Catalist to the Mainboard, Rex has further upside potential and could be amongst the top performing stocks for 2022.

#7 SPH (SGX:T39)

Share price gain in 2021: 114%

Share price at the start of 2021: $1.09

Share price at the end of 2021: $2.33

Dividend yield/Distribution Per Unit (DPU): 2.56% / SGD 0.06

Market Capitalisation: $3,822 million

SPH announced its decision in the first half of 2021 to deconsolidate and transfer its loss-making media business to a not-for-profit entity. With the divestment, SPH reported a strong set of FY21 results, with the operating profits up by 70%.

Thereafter, both Keppel Corporation and Cuscaden Peak initiated a bidding war to acquire all of SPH shares. Currently, Cuscaden’s offer of a full cash offer at $2.36/share is the most attractive for shareholders.

Thanks to its buyout offer, SPH saw a rise of 114% in 2021. And as investors, that’s not something to take umbrage at!

#6 Yinda Infocomm/Totm Tech (SGX:42F)

Share price gain in 2021: 114%

Share price at the start of 2021: $0.096

Share price at the end of 2021: $0.205

Dividend yield/Distribution Per Unit (DPU): nil

Market Capitalisation: $183 million

Totm Technologies (TT) is a leading integrated solutions and services provider in identity management and biometric technology. Before its change of business and name, it was known as Yinda Infocomm and was the regional provider of integrated telco solutions and services to network operators.

SGX Regco issued TT with a “trade with caution” alert as its share price saw a sudden spike following its announcement that its investee company, TECH5, a provider of biometrics solutions has joined the ID2020 Alliance; a global public-private partnership that advocates for ethical implementation of digital identity solutions.

TT announced plans in December 2021 to divest its loss-making telecommunications business segment as it focuses on becoming a recognised digital identity solutions provider.

#5 Propnex (SGX:OYY)

Share price gain in 2021: 133%

Share price at the start of 2021: $0.726

Share price at the end of 2021: $1.69

Dividend yield/Distribution Per Unit (DPU): 5.69% / SGD 0.095

Market Capitalisation: $607 million

Propnex is Singapore’s leading real estate agency. Its business segments include real estate brokerage, training, property management and real estate consultancy.

Soon after the circuit breaker was lifted in June 2020, demand for immediate housing, combined with inflationary pressure, triggered a property cycle bull run. The momentum gained steam in 2021, with Propnex the beneficiary as its stock price rose to a high of $2.145.

Propnex reported strong earnings in 2021 and its latest Q32021 reporting showed revenue to have increased by 98.8% and net profit increased by 112%, from the same period last year.

Despite the new cooling measures announced by the government in December 2021 to cool the private residential and HDB resale markets, analyst Adrian Loh from UOB Kay Hian is bullish on Singapore’s property sector and Propnex. He has issued a buy rating on Propnex with a target price of $2.17, which is based on a target P/E multiple of 12.6x.

#4 The Place Holdings (SGX:E27)

Share price gain in 2021: 135%

Share price at the start of 2021: $0.034

Share price at the end of 2021: $0.08

Dividend yield/Distribution Per Unit (DPU): nil

Market Capitalisation: $412 million

The Place Holdings (TPH) has three business segments: the property development and property management activities, cultural tourism with a “new retail” business concept; and integrated media-related businesses with management and operations rights.

TPH saw a meteoric rise of over 350%, reaching a high of $0.182 by the end of January 2021 after it was announced that it had entered an agreement with MCC Land and Ekovest Development to jointly develop a new mixed development project located next to the Tanah Merah MRT interchange. Under the agreement, TPH will have a 20% stake in the project.

Soon after reaching its all-time high, the stock price started to languish lower, closing at $0.08 an upside of 135% for the year.

#3 CFM Holdings (SGX:5EB)

Share price gain in 2021: 156%

Share price at the start of 2021: $0.041

Share price at the end of 2021: $0.105

Dividend yield/Distribution Per Unit (DPU): nil

Market Capitalisation: $19 million

CFM Holdings provides metal stamping services and the design, fabrication and sale of tool and die which are used for the manufacture of stamped metal components.

CFM saw a huge boost in its share price in June 2021, following its 51% acquisition of SING-SWE MM Biotechnology, which distributes and sells pharmaceutical products, including certain viral test kits. This was seen as a value accreditive move as CFM was involved in the distribution and sale of gloves and other personal protective equipment.

The share price rose from its low of $0.026 to a high of $0.38 or a 1300% gain following the acquisition. However, the momentum fizzled out in the following months, with the share price closing at $0.105 for the year, for a total gain of just 156%.

#2 iFast (SGX:AIY)

Share price gain in 2021: 176%

Share price at the start of 2021: $3.042

Share price at the end of 2021: $8.40

Dividend yield/Distribution Per Unit (DPU): 0.56% /SGD 0.044

Market Capitalisation: $2,176 million

iFast is an internet-based investment product distribution platform.

iFast continued its good run of earnings from 2020, thanks to the record account openings by customers during the COVID-19 pandemic, which boosted its assets under administration (AUA). This led to iFast recording its all-time high of around $10/share and generating a 176% return excluding dividends for its shareholders.

The group set out a Five-Year Plan to focus on (1) getting bigger and better, (2) accelerate its overall Hong Kong business, (3) to pursue more financial licences in different jurisdictions and (4) to build a truly global business model.

With such clear goals, it’s no wonder analysts from at least three brokerages have a buy rating on iFast with a target price of $11.37 – $12.50.

Read Also: 4 Things To Know About Recent Announcements By iFAST (SGX: AIY)

#1 RH PetroGas (SGX:T13)

Share price gain in 2021: 579%

Share price at the start of 2021: $0.024

Share price at the end of 2021: $0.163

Dividend yield/Distribution Per Unit (DPU): nil

Market Capitalisation: $1,450 million

RH Petrogas Limited is an independent upstream oil and gas company.

RH Petrogas (RHP) saw a surge in its share price in late May 2021 as it benefited from the higher oil prices, which was a result of declining oil inventories and better-than-expected global oil demand from economies after the COVID-19 lockdowns.

Based on the July research report by UOB Kay Hian, it estimates RHP’s 20-year Discounted Cash Flow (DCF) valuation to range between $0.29 – $0.40, assuming oil prices stay around US$65 – $75 per barrel.

With crude oil prices currently at around US$80 at the start of this year, could there be further upside in RHP?

Top photo by Moo Kar Ming, DollarsAndSense

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