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STOCKS NEWS SINGAPORE-Index slightly up, Golden Agri leads losses

Source : REUTERS
Last Updated: Fri, Mar 01, 2013 05:30 hrs

Commodity stocks edged down, with palm oil producer Golden Agri-Resources as the biggest decliner on Friday, after posting poor fourth-quarter results.

The Straits Times Index inched up 0.2 percent to 3276.59 points, while the MSCI's broadest index of Asia-Pacific shares outside Japan remains flat.

Shares of Golden Agri-Resources fell to a five-week low to S$0.62 after the palm oil producer reported a 93 percent drop in fourth-quarter net profit mainly due to weaker crude palm oil prices.

Another commodity player Noble Group Ltd slid as much as 1.3 percent to S$1.17 after reporting a loss of 14 percent in fourth-quarter net profit compared to a year earlier, hurt by lower agricultural earnings.

DBS Vickers cut its target price for Noble Group to S$1.45 from S$1.50 and trimmed its core earnings forecast by 4 percent for both fiscal year 2013 and 2014, citing lower agriculture profitability.

1312 (0512 GMT)

(Reporting by Teo Jion Chun; Editing by G.Ram Mohan) (teo.jionchun@thomsonreuters.com)(+6564035659)(Reuters Messaging: teo.jionchun.thomsonreuters.com@reuters.net))

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11:53 STOCKS NEWS SINGAPORE-Golden Agri falls after weak Q4 results

Shares of Golden Agri-Resources fell to a five-week low after the palm oil producer reported a 93 percent drop in fourth-quarter net profit mainly due to weaker crude palm oil prices.

Golden Agri shares fell as much as 4.6 percent to S$0.62, with nearly 68 million shares traded, 1.3 times the average full-day volume over the past 30 days.

OCBC Investment Research cut its target price to S$0.63 from S$0.65 and kept its 'hold' rating, after lowering its margin assumptions and cutting its core earnings forecast by 18 percent for 2013 fiscal year.

Nomura said Golden Agri's midstream and downstream activities in China posted a full-year loss due to downward pressure on end-consumer prices and higher costs of soybean feedstock.

Nomura sees a lack of a clear plan to mitigate these losses, no signs of any change in the regulatory stance in China on end-consumer vegetable oil prices and a support for soybean prices.

Therefore, a return to previous EBITDA (earnings before interest, taxes, depreciation, and amortization) levels in China may be "too optimistic", Nomura said.



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