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STOCKS NEWS SINGAPORE-Shares up at 2-week high by midday

Source : REUTERS
Last Updated: Wed, Jan 23, 2013 04:00 hrs

Singapore shares marched to a two-week high by midday, as upbeat U.S. earnings and stronger investor confidence in Germany helped to lift sentiment.

As of 0343 GMT, the benchmark Straits Times Index was up 0.3 percent at 3228.99 points, its highest since January 11. The MSCI's broadest index of Asia-Pacific shares outside Japan was down 0.1 percent.

Property developer Hongkong Land Holdings Ltd was the largest gainer on the STI, rising 2 percent to $7.75, while the taxi operator ComfortDelGro Corp Ltd rose 1.9 percent to S$1.885.

International Business Machines, the world's largest technology services company, and Google Inc reported better-than-expected earnings and revenue respectively.

However, OCBC Investment Research said the STI is likely to face resistance near 3,230 level, as investors await the earnings results of blue-chip Singapore companies for more cues.

"Our sense is that the market is waiting for clearer indicators from the bellwether stocks like banks and property firms which should be releasing results over the next few weeks," OCBC said.

1148 (0348 GMT)

(Reporting by Charmian Kok in Singapore; Editing by G.Ram Mohan; charmian.kok @thomsonreuters.com; Reuters Messaging: charmian.kok.thomsonreuters.com@reuters.net)

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11:33 STOCKS NEWS SINGAPORE-OCBC raises Suntec REIT target price

OCBC Investment Research raised its target price for Suntec Real Estate Investment Trust, which operates commercial properties, to S$1.94 from S$1.70 and kept its 'buy' rating, to factor in better-than-expected fourth quarter results and divestment gains.

As of 0320 GMT, Suntec REIT units dipped 0.9 percent at S$1.72. They have gained 2.7 percent since the start of the year, compared with the FTSE ST Real Estate Industrial Trust's 3.4 percent gain.

Suntec REIT posted a 5.3 percent fall in its distributable income to S$52.4 million, mainly due to the closure of its properties Suntec Singapore and Suntec City Mall for upgrading work.

However, this was above OCBC's expectations, noting that Suntec REIT's office segment continued to perform, with a 11.1 percent growth in revenue and high occupancy of 99.7 percent. This helped to cushion a 27.6 percent decline in revenue from its retail segment.

Suntec City's upgrading work is on track for completion and based on the timeline, OCBC said, adding that the second quarter may face the largest impact on its rental income.

OCBC expects Suntec REIT to pay out S$10 million in distribution from the divestment proceeds in 2013 due to the better-than-expected results.

(Reporting by Teo Jion Chun in Singapore; Editing by Anand Basu; teo.jionchun@thomsonreuters.com; Reuters Messaging: teo.jionchun.thomsonreuters.com@reuters.net)

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10:00 STOCKS NEWS SINGAPORE-CIMB upgrades SATS to outperform

CIMB Research upgraded its rating on airline services company SATS Ltd to 'outperform' from 'neutral' and raised its target price to S$3.32 from S$2.82, citing a rise in air travel in Singapore.

SATS shares were up 0.7 percent at S$2.96 and have gained 2.4 percent since the start of the year, compared with the FTSE ST Industrials Index's 3 percent rise.

CIMB expects higher air traffic volume through Singapore. In November, Singapore's Changi Airport handled an average 920 flights per day, a record high. With the thriving air travel in Singapore, CIMB said SATS can offer stable earnings growth and yields of over 4 percent.

Meanwhile, CIMB said SATS' profit margins were expected to recover, helped by easing food inflation. The brokerage expects SATS's core net profit margin to improve 0.4 percentage points to 9.9 percent in 2013.

0947 (0147 GMT)



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