Singapore shares gain after Yellen soothes worries on Fed

Last Updated: Thu, Nov 14, 2013 04:50 hrs

SINGAPORE, Nov 14 (Reuters) - Singapore shares were poised for their biggest daily gain in nearly two months on Thursday, after Federal Reserve Vice Chair Janet Yellen soothed uncertainties over the Fed's monetary stimulus.

The benchmark Straits Times Index gained 0.9 percent to 3,193.85 points by 0421 GMT. The MSCI's broadest index of Asia-Pacific shares outside Japan was up 1.2 percent.

Palm oil firm Golden Agri-Resources Ltd was among the best performers, advancing as much as 3.5 percent to S$0.59, rebounding from a 2-1/2-week low in the previous session hit after the company reported a sharp decline in third-quarter net profit.

Golden Agri shares, which soared 15 percent in October, are down 2.5 percent this month. In a note on Wednesday, OCBC analysts remained downbeat on the outlook, noting that company management has forecast a decline in full year crude palm oil output even as it is positive on next year's market.

The OCBC analysts, saying the recent price rally "looks overdone", maintained a "sell" call on the stock and a target price at S$0.465.

Shares of agricultural company Olam International Ltd rose as much as 2.4 percent to S$1.51, its highest in more than one week, after announcing a sale and lease-back of its Australia almond orchards for A$200 million ($185.96 million).

The deal will help monetize about half of Olam's assets linked to its Australia orchard, said Citi Research in a note, adding that orchards are likely to drive the company's edible nuts segment earning and cash generation as it matures. Citi has a "buy" rating and target price of S$2.60 on the stock.

Olam is due to report quarterly results later Thursday.

Singapore Telecommunications Ltd shares rose 0.8 percent to $3.79. Southeast Asia's largest telecommunications operator reported weaker-than-expected net profit for the second quarter as strong Singapore dollar hit overseas earnings.

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