5 things to know before the Singapore market trades this week: July 20-26

Old Greek drachma bank notes in Athens, Greece. Greek banks will reopen on Monday as Prime Minister Alexis Tsipras rebuilds his government to shore up support for a bailout agreed with the country’s creditors.
Old Greek drachma bank notes in Athens, Greece. Greek banks will reopen on Monday as Prime Minister Alexis Tsipras rebuilds his government to shore up support for a bailout agreed with the country’s creditors. PHOTO: BLOOMBERG

1. Greece edges back from the abyss

The Greek debt saga will remain in the spotlight as the country inches back from the abyss and towards a new three-year 86 billion-euro (S$129 billion) bailout deal.

To sum up a six-month-long crisis, the Greek parliament voted into law the harsh austerity measures demanded by creditors last Thursday and its biggest creditor, Germany, voted to proceed with the aid on Friday. After the European Union then said it would grant the ailing country 7.16 billion euros in short-terms loans, Greece announced its banks will reopen on Monday for the first time in three weeks. Greeks will be able to withdraw 420 euros a week at once instead of just 60 euros a day, access their safety deposit boxes and withdraw money without a credit card. But other capital controls like transfers abroad will remain.

It remains to be seen on Monday whether Greeks will heed the call to do the opposite of what they have done for months and put cash back into their bank accounts - and how they will respond a new tax hike on a wide swathe of goods and services to 23 per cent from 13 per cent.

Greek Prime Minister Alexis Tsipras sacked party rebels in a government reshuffle on Friday and is seeking a swift start to talks on the bailout accord with EU leaders and the IMF before elections which are likely in September or October.

But way before that, he will face a fresh challenge in parliament on Wednesday to approve a second wave of reforms tied to the bailout deal. Pro-government newspaper Avgi said the vote would be a "crash test" that could even result in the Tsipras' resignation.

Greece is also due to make its 3.5 billion euro payment to the European Central Bank on Monday.

2. Breakthrough to seal in global IT tariffs deal

The US, China and the EU are expected to sign up this week to what would be the biggest tariff deal struck at the World Trade Organisation in almost two decades, after a weekend breakthrough that clears the way for barriers to be dropped globally on more than 200 types of tech products from video game consoles to semiconductors.

In a deal reached on Saturday, the US agreed to grant further small concessions to China in order to help both South Korea and the EU secure their own deals with Beijing.

The compromise finally allows the 1996 Information Technology Agreement to be initialled by some 80 governments before a deadline this Friday.

The global trade in IT products is worth about US$4 trillion annually and the ITA agreement would see tariffs lifted for goods worth about a quarter of that, the Financial Times reported.

3. Friday is also Flash PMI Day

Advance readings on purchasing managers' indices on Friday is expected to show the US factories continue to do well, Europe which has been gaining strength may falter thanks to the weakness of its key trading partner, China.

As for China, its GDP surprised on the upside last week and analysts will be eager to see if its PMI bears this out.

4. Singapore big earnings kick off

Among the listed biggies scheduled to report their quarterly results this week are M1 on Monday; CapitaLand Mall Trust, Ascott Residence Trust and Ascendas Reit on Wednesday; Keppel Corporation and Suntec Reit on Thursday; and, CapitaLand Commercial Trust on Friday.

5. Will Apple et al repeat Gooogle surge?

Google's bullish quarterly results on strong growth in viewership for Youtube unleashed a massive surge in its shares on Friday and sent the Nasdaq composite index to a record intraday high.

Now investors are hoping for the same from another set of US tech giants this week - IBM, Microsoft and Apple, currently the biggest company in the world by market value.

Google's results triggered the biggest one-day move in the stock in more than seven years, as shares went higher than US$700 for the first time ever, before closing up 16.3 per cent at US$699.62, adding about US$65 billion to the company's market value. Online video ads could be a US$17 billion opportunity in the United States alone by 2017, Jefferies & Co analysts said, and YouTube looks best positioned to benefit.

IBM will open the week with its second-quarter earnings on Monday. The company's recent analytics tools and cloud platform will be under investors' microscopes, to see if these segments can generate more revenue, Reuters said.

Apple and Microsoft will both release their figures on Tuesday. While iPhone is expected to post solid profits, analysts will be watching for the first official figures on the Apple Watch.