Singapore shares were little changed, but Olam International
Ltd outperformed after state investor Temasek Holdings
raised its stake in the commodities firm and local media said
investor Jim Rogers will take up Olam's rights issue.
As of 1:02 pm local time (0436 GMT), The Straits Times Index
(STI) was flat at 3,184.85, up 20 percent so far this
year. MSCI's broadest index of Asia-Pacific shares outside Japan
was 0.4 percent higher, up more than 18 percent
since the start of the year.
Olam shares were the biggest gainer on Friday, rising as
much as 2.6 percent. Olam, which has been battling short-seller
Muddy Waters, said in a stock market filing that Temasek had
increased its stake in the company to 19 percent from 18
"When the STI started off the year, valuations were still
depressed because of the euro zone crisis. What developed early
in the year was that governments put up backstops to prevent
tail risk events, and markets started to come up," said Kenneth
Ng, head of research at CIMB in Singapore.
Ng said property stocks had performed very well this year as
liquidity continued to flood into Singapore, helping to offset
the regulatory concerns in the city-state. But casino stocks
fared worse than expected as fewer high rollers, particularly
those from China, gambled in Singapore, he said.
The FT ST Real Estate Index surged more than
47 percent so far this year. Shares of Genting Singapore
, which operates the Resorts World Sentosa
casino-resort complex in the city-state, were down nearly 8
percent this year.
For 2013, CIMB downgraded Singapore to 'neutral' from
'overweight' this year, Ng said, citing the outperformance of
the city-state's market, domestic cost concerns and cheaper
North Asian markets like China.
1305 (0505 GMT)