STOCKS NEWS SINGAPORE-Shares edge higher; dividend plays up

Last Updated: Fri, Aug 31, 2012 04:10 hrs

Singapore shares edged slightly higher at midday, supported by demand for dividend stocks such as Singapore Telecommunications, but gains are likely to be capped ahead of a speech by U.S. Federal Reserve Chairman Ben Bernanke later in the day.

The benchmark Straits Times Index rose 0.1 percent to 3,015.43 points, after opening 0.2 percent lower at 3,007.16. Other Asian shares were also trading rangebound, with the MSCI's broadest index of Asia-Pacific shares outside Japan down 0.1 percent.

"There's no significant movement on the upside either and we are likely to see very tight and boring trading for the rest of the day," said a local trader.

SingTel shares were up 1.8 percent at S$3.39, making it the biggest gainer on the STI. Taxi operator ComfortDelGro and SIA Engineering, which offer dividend yields of 3.8 and 5 percent respectively, rose 1.5 percent.

"With markets likely to remain volatile, we believe that the telcos' defensive earnings and still-attractive yields offer a safe harbour for risk-adverse investors," said OCBC Investment Research in a report.

1156 (0356 GMT)

(Reporting by Charmian Kok in Singapore;


10:49 STOCKS NEWS SINGAPORE-Si2i shares at record low on poor earnings

Shares of mobile phone retailer S i2i Ltd fell 7 percent to their record low after posting a full-year loss, hurt by higher costs amid tougher competition and obsolete inventory.

By 0236 GMT, S i2i shares were down 6.9 percent at S$0.027 with 11.8 million shares traded, 3.5 times its average daily volume over the last five sessions.

S i2i said it made a loss of $187.7 million for the 15-months ended June, compared to a net profit of $121 million in the year-ago period.

"This is in line with the lacklustre outlook for the feature phone market. While the outlook for smart phones remains robust, feature phones are increasingly being commoditized even for the low-end market as smart phone become more affordable, driving shipment volumes downwards," DMG & Partners said in a note.

1041 (0241 GMT)

(Reporting by Charmian Kok in Singapore;


9:28 STOCKS NEWS SINGAPORE-CIMB downgrades Parkway Life to 'neutral'

CIMB Research downgraded Parkway Life Real Estate Investment Trust, which owns healthcare assets, to 'neutral' from 'outperform', citing high valuations as it trades at a premium.

Units of Parkway Life were down 0.5 percent at S$1.925, and have gained 8.2 percent so far this year.

"The market has rewarded the stock with a handsome defensive premium. At 30 percent premium over book and yield compression to 5 percent, we struggle to see significant upside," said CIMB.

However, CIMB raised its target price to S$2.11 from S$1.96, taking into account a lower discount rate of 7 percent, and said possible acquisitions in Malaysia and Australia could be a re-rating catalyst.

In Japan, the plans of Parkway Life's management to upgrade assets is a compelling strategy for long-term growth, said CIMB.

(Reporting by Charmian Kok in Singapore;

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