STOCKS NEWS SINGAPORE-Index edges down, Keppel Corp drags

Last Updated: Fri, Apr 19, 2013 04:20 hrs

Singapore shares dipped slightly, with Keppel Corp Ltd falling to a 3-month low after the world's largest offshore oil rig builder posted a drop in first-quarter net profit.

The Straits Times Index was down 0.1 percent at 3293.40 points, while MSCI's broadest index of Asia-Pacific shares outside Japan gained 0.6 percent.

Shares of Keppel fell as much as 2 percent to S$11.03, their lowest since Jan. 16. It is one of the top traded stocks by value in the Singapore market on Friday, with about 4.3 million shares changing hands.

Keppel Corp reported a 56 percent drop in quarterly net profit from a year earlier to S$331 million ($267.8 million), in the absence of one-time gains from sales of its Reflections at Keppel Bay units.

Brokers are bullish on Keppel Corp and maintained their "buy" ratings.

OCBC Investment Research said it expects the scope for productivity and efficiency gains to drive better-than-expected margins for the company. The broker has a fair value estimate of S$12.68 on the stock.

Even though the stock has been under pressure due to competitive concerns, Keppel's strong position as a premium rigbuilder brings confidence, Maybank Kim Eng said, raising its target price to S$12.85 from S$12.80.

To read Keppel statement, click

1200 (0400 GMT)

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