Singapore shares drift above two-week low in thin trade

Last Updated: Mon, Nov 04, 2013 04:10 hrs

SINGAPORE, Nov 4 (Reuters) - Singapore shares hovered above their lowest level in nearly two weeks hit in the previous session in slow trading on Monday, as investors await central bank meetings in Europe and a key U.S. jobs market report for direction.

The benchmark Straits Times Index inched up 0.1 percent to 3,205.40 points by 0350 GMT, after falling to a near two-week low of 3,194.96 on Friday and finishing the week nearly flat.

MSCI's broadest index of Asia-Pacific shares outside Japan edged down 0.1 percent.

Oversea-Chinese Banking Corp Ltd was among the top three performers on the index, up 0.9 percent at S$10.45 and headed for its biggest daily gain in two-and-a-half weeks, after Singapore's second-largest bank reported better-than-expected results on Friday. Trading volume, however, was less than 15 percent of the 30-day daily average.

OCBC's stock price has risen over 7 percent this year, behind a 13 percent gain in bigger rival DBS Group Holdings Ltd , but outperforming the 5 percent climb in United Overseas Bank Ltd, Singapore's third-largest bank.

CIMB analysts maintained their "underperform" call on OCBC, out of concerns that the bank's profit mainly came from its insurance subsidiary and credit quality appeared to be on the slide.

"Clearly, the credit cycle is as good as it can be and will deteriorate from here," they wrote in a research note, noting that the NPL (non-performing loans) ratio increased to 0.8 percent from 0.7 percent in the previous two quarters.

Genting Singapore PLC shares were flat ahead of results due after market close on Monday.

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