STOCKS NEWS SINGAPORE-Shares up at midday; rigbuilders lead gains

Last Updated: Thu, Nov 22, 2012 05:40 hrs

Singapore shares climbed by midday, extending their gains for the fourth consecutive session, led by rigbuilder Sembcorp Marine Ltd, as firm Chinese manufacturing data raised hopes global growth could be improving.

By 0520 GMT, the benchmark Straits Times Index was up 0.8 percent at 2984.74, its highest since Nov 14., MSCI's broadest index of Asia-Pacific shares outside Japan rose 0.8 percent.

Sembcorp Marine was the biggest gainer on the STI, rising 3.3 percent to S$4.39, while larger rival Keppel Corp rose 3 percent to S$10.58.

J.P. Morgan said the outlook for rig building orders remains strong with more orders from Brazil likely. It expects Singapore offhshore and marine stocks to outperform the broader market going into early next year, helped by easing concerns about margins.

The China HSBC Flash Manufacturing Purchasing Managers Index rose to a 13-month high of 50.4 in November, indicating factory activity was picking up and pointing to a revival in economic growth after seven consecutive quarters of slowing.

1325 (0525 GMT)

(Reporting by Charmian Kok in Singapore; Editing by Anupama Dwivedi;


11:30 STOCKS NEWS SINGAPORE-NOL rises, snapping 3 sessions of losses

Shares of container shipping firm Neptune Orient Lines Ltd jumped as much as 6 percent, recovering from three straight sessions of losses on expectations of an improvement in freight rates.

As of 0318 GMT, NOL shares were up 5.7 percent at S$1.12 and have lost 0.4 percent since the start of the year, compared to the FTSE ST Industrials Index's 20.9 percent rise. Since the start of this month, NOL had dropped 8.6 percent to Wednesday's closing price of S$1.06.

Maybank Kim Eng said it expects NOL's strength in the Trans-pacific trade to be a key driver to a profitable 2013, as freight rates for the route are seeing further signs of improvement helped by a recovering U.S. housing market and cooperation between liners.

The brokerage said A.P. Moller-Maersk's plans to move away from the shipping segment may not be bad news for NOL, as the Danish company's shipping business was mainly focused on Asia-Europe trade, which was hit by the European debt crisis, but the segment only accounts for 16 percent of NOL's volumes.

1122 (0322 GMT)

(Reporting by Charmian Kok in Singapore; Editing by G.Ram Mohan;


10:52 STOCKS NEWS SINGAPORE-OCBC starts Petra Foods with 'buy'

OCBC Investment Research initiated coverage of Petra Foods Ltd with a 'buy' rating and a target price of S$2.98, as the cocoa company has a dominant market share in Philippines and Indonesia and is likely to benefit from rising consumer demand in the region.

By 0239 GMT, Petra shares were up 1.1 percent at S$2.70 and have surged 45.9 percent since the start of the year, compared with Thomson Reuters Global ex US Food Processing Index's 7.8 percent rise.

Petra is one of the world's largest producers and suppliers of cocoa ingredients, and its extensive distribution network and strong brand name give it a competitive advantage and high barriers of entry, OCBC said.

Petra's sales for its branded consumer division have grown 20.2 percent a year during 2004-2011, boosted by increasing consumption in Asia, and OCBC expects this to continue growing at double-digit rates.

The company has key international clients including Nestle, Cadbury, the Mars Group and Meiji Group, which will help support its earnings.

1041 (0241 GMT)

(Reporting by Charmian Kok in Singapore; Editing by Subhranshu Sahu;


9:56 STOCKS NEWS SINGAPORE-CIMB downgrades CapitaMall Trust to 'underperform'

CIMB Research downgraded CapitaMall Trust to 'underperform' from 'outperform' and lowered its target price to S$2.23 from S$2.43, citing the shopping mall owner's plans to raise funds despite the lack of funding needs.

As of 0137 GMT, CapitaMall Trust units fell 2.4 percent to S$2.07, but have gained nearly 22 percent since the start of the year, compared to the FTSE ST Real Estate Industrial Trust's 32 percent rise.

CapitaMall Trust said on Thursday it would raise S$250 million by selling 125 million new units at S$2.00 each, which would go towards funding capital expenditure needs and upgrading works for its properties.

CIMB cut its 2013-2014 distribution per unit estimates for CapitaMall Trust by up to 4 percent to reflect the new issue, which translates to an unattractive yield of 4.8 percent for next year compared to its peers.

The brokerage prefers Mapletree Commercial Trust and Frasers Centrepoint Trust for exposure to shopping malls.

"Despite the good placement price and small dilution... we are disappointed that CapitaMall Trust has chosen to raise equity in the absence of major funding needs for acquisitions and asset enhancement initiatives," said CIMB in a report.

The brokerage said it understands that the trust has no concrete plans for acquisitions for now even though it remains on the look out.

0955 (0155 GMT)

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