2023 is almost over.
As we come to the end of an interesting year marked by soaring inflation and high interest rates, it’s also a good time to review your investment portfolio.
It may be a good time to buy stocks with strong prospects while selling stocks with poor prospects and poor performance.
Another New Year’s resolution might be to increase the level of dividends you receive.
To do this, you can invest in companies that are expected to increase their dividends in 2024.
Here are four interesting stocks to keep an eye on and include on your buy watchlist.
iFAST Corporation Limited (SGX:AIY)
iFAST is a financial technology (fintech) company that operates a platform for buying and selling unit trusts, stocks, and bonds.
In late October, the group reported strong results for the third quarter of 2023 (Q3 2023).
Net revenue for the first nine months of 2023 (9 months 2023) increased 18.1% year-on-year to S$104.5 million.
Operating profit more than doubled year-on-year to S$20.3 million, and net profit nearly tripled year-on-year to S$15.1 million.
The better result is due to the first month’s contribution from iFAST’s Hong Kong ePension contract.
Much more could happen in 2024.
iFAST will continue to recognize revenue from the continued implementation of its eMPF system in Hong Kong, and management expects 2024 revenue and profitability to show “solid growth” compared to 2023.
Chief Executive Officer Lim Chun-chun also hinted at increasing the dividend next year as profits are expected to increase significantly.
Fintech assets under management (AUA) also hit a record high of S$19.12 billion as of September 30, 2023.
The group is also preparing to launch its ORSO ePension service, which is expected to start contributing significantly to AUA from Q1 2025 onwards.
Singtel (SGX: Z74)
Singtel is Singapore’s largest telecommunications company, offering services such as mobile, broadband, pay TV, and cybersecurity.
The good news comes as the blue-chip telco reported an increase in underlying net profit and an increase in interim dividends in its latest financial year 2024 first half (FY2024 first half) financial results.
Underlying net profit for the first half of FY2024 increased 12% year-on-year to S$1.1 billion, and dividend per share increased to S$0.052 from S$0.046 in the same period last year.
Singtel is continuing its strategic realignment aimed at simplifying its business structure and unlocking growth engines for the future.
At the recent 2023 Investor Day, CEO Yuen Kuan Moon identified several tailwinds that could help the telco grow further.
The group aims to achieve a double-digit return on invested capital (ROIC) in the first half of 2024, with ROIC increasing by 1.5 percentage points year-on-year to 8.3%.
Investors could also enjoy higher dividends as the telecom company revised its dividend policy to 70% to 90% of underlying net profit, up from the previous range of 60% to 80%.
City Developments Limited (SGX: C09)
City Developments Limited (CDL) is a leading real estate company with a network of 143 locations in 28 countries and territories.
The property group issued a warning on its 2023 profits, saying impairment losses on UK properties and the lack of significant capital gains to be recorded in 2022 would lead to a significant fall in attributable profits for the current year.
However, these adjustments are non-cash in nature and do not have a material impact on CDL’s core operating income.
CDL stock has fallen about 21% since the beginning of the year, but this decline could present an opportunity for investors.
The group’s operational update for Q3 2023 revealed that it has four residential projects in Singapore, with more than 90% of its units sold.
The Singapore office and retail portfolios recorded committed occupancy rates of 97.8% and 97.7%, respectively.
During the quarter, CDL also initiated a S$50 million capital enhancement program for City Square Mall, adding approximately 26,000 sq ft of net lettable area.
The property giant last month expanded its UK living sector portfolio with the acquisition of 1NQ, a private rental sector project in Manchester, for £75.6m.
Singapore Post (SGX: S08)
Singapore Post (SingPost) is Singapore’s only postal service provider.
Like Singtel, the group has announced a strategic review to evaluate its various businesses and improve shareholder returns by ensuring the group is “appropriately valued”.
The strategic review is currently being finalized and may be announced alongside SingPost’s 2024 financial results for the year ending March 31, 2024.
But the group is not silent.
The company recently expanded its integrated logistics network with the acquisition of Australian company Border Express for A$210 million.
Singpost is also implementing a strategy to transform into a global logistics company.
We are evaluating the possibility of further acquisitions and divestitures of non-core businesses and assets to reclaim capital.
Meanwhile, international postage rates will also be adjusted upward from January 1, 2024, providing a slight boost to the post and parcel sector.
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Disclosure: Royston Yang owns shares in iFAST Corporation Limited.