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STOCKS NEWS SINGAPORE-Singapore stocks at 16-month high; banks lead

Source : REUTERS
Last Updated: Wed, Dec 12, 2012 06:40 hrs

Singapore shares climbed to a 16-month high, with United Overseas Bank Ltd and commodities firm Noble Group Ltd among the biggest gainers.

The Straits Times index rose as much as 1 percent to 3,145, the highest intra-day level since early August 2011. The bourse has gained 18 percent so far this year.

Shares of United Overseas Bank gained 2 percent, while Oversea-Chinese Banking Corp Ltd and DBS Group Holdings advanced 1 percent.

The banks have beaten earnings expectations in their recently reported results. Some analysts have said valuations of the banks were attractive, with Citigroup upgrading its rating on UOB and OCBC last month.

Petra Foods Ltd jumped 22 percent on Wednesday after it agreed to sell its cocoa ingredients unit for $950 million to Zurich-based cocoa and chocolate products manufacturer Barry Callebaut AG.

For a story on Singapore economy, see

1425 (0625 GMT) (Reporting by A. Ananthalakshmi in Singapore; Editing by Anand Basu; ananthalakshmi.as@thomsonreuters.com)

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10:29 STOCKS NEWS SINGAPORE-OCBC upgrades ComfortDelGro to 'buy'

OCBC Investment Research upgraded ComfortDelGro Corp Ltd to 'buy' from 'hold' and raised its target price to S$1.90 from S$1.60, citing better prospects for the transport operator in 2013.

ComfortDelGro shares were up 1.15 percent at S$1.76 on Wednesday. The stock has gained 24 percent this year, outperforming the 18 percent gain in the broader Straits Times Index.

ComfortDelGro's bus operations in Singapore are seen turning around gradually in fiscal year 2013 on the back of the Bus Services Enhancement Programme (BSEP) and its related subsidies, as well as the likelihood of a fare hike, OCBC said.

Under BSEP, the Singapore government is partnering with bus operators to increase bus capacity and improve services.

Fuel prices are likely to remain subdued in 2013 and with substantial hedges in place, ComfortDelGro is well-positioned to benefit from any additional dips, OCBC said.

The Downtown Line project in Singapore is expected to boost ComfortDelGro's ridership, OCBC said, adding that acquisitions and strategic moves overseas will allow the company to continue enjoying stable revenue and operating profit contributions.

1020 (0220 GMT)




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