STOCKS NEWS SINGAPORE-Index slightly lower; Rowsley surges

Last Updated: Mon, Dec 24, 2012 05:00 hrs

Singapore shares closed slightly lower on Monday, but Rowsley Ltd jumped over 80 percent after the company announced a S$581 million ($475.9 million) deal that will transform it into a property player in Malaysia's Iskandar region.

The Straits Times Index was down 0.05 percent at 3,161.97 points, while MSCI's broadest index of Asia-Pacific shares outside Japan was 0.1 percent higher. The Singapore market closed after half a day of trading on Christmas Eve.

Shares of Rowsley, an investment holding firm controlled by Singapore billionaire Peter Lim, jumped as much as 88 percent to S$0.265, the highest since end-July 2007.

More than 249 million shares were traded, 10 times the average full-day volume over the past 30 days. Rowsley was the top stock by value and volume in Singapore on Monday.

"Peter Lim is a famous name, and there is a lot of demand for the property in Iskandar because of the future development there," said a Singapore trader.

Iskandar, an economic zone three times the size of Singapore, has been drawing investments from firms looking for cheaper land and labour while remaining close to the wealthy Southeast Asian city-state.

Singapore Telecommunications Ltd, Southeast Asia's largest telecommunication company, was the biggest decliner on the index. SingTel shares closed 2.35 percent, or 8 Singapore cents, lower after a dividend payout of 6.8 Singapore cents per share.

1251 (0451 GMT)

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