Singapore shares rose to a near 4-1/2-year high, with casino operator Genting Singapore Plc extending gains to the highest in about 3 weeks after a broker upgrade on higher earnings expectations.
The Straits Times Index was up 0.3 percent at 3332.54 points while the MSCI's broadest index of Asia-Pacific shares outside Japan gained 0.7 percent.
Shares of Genting jumped 4.2 percent to S$1.485, their highest level since early April, up from a 4 percent rise on Wednesday.
Genting is the most actively traded stock by value in the Singapore market on Thursday, with 95 million shares changing hands, 6.1 times the average full-day volume over the past 30 days.
Bank of America-Merrill Lynch upgraded Genting Singapore to "buy" from "neutral" and raised its target price to S$1.81 from S$1.63.
CapitaMalls Asia Ltd (CMA) shares rose 3.1 percent to a week-high of S$2.03 after it posted a 9.6 percent jump in first-quarter net profit on Thursday.
"We favor CMA for its sharp execution and retail property exposure in China and Singapore, which continue to enjoy firm long-term fundamentals," said OCBC Investment Research, which kept a "buy" rating and fair value estimate of S$2.55 on the stock.
1255 (0455 GMT)
Reporting by Teo Jion Chun; Editing by Bijoy Koyitty (firstname.lastname@example.org)(+6564035659)(Reuters Messaging: email@example.com)