STOCKS NEWS SINGAPORE-Shares slightly up; Vanguard switch to benefit some stocks

Last Updated: Fri, Oct 05, 2012 19:01 hrs

Singapore shares were slightly higher by midday, as investors stayed cautious ahead of fresh U.S. economic data and a European Central Bank policy meeting later in the day.

By 0545 GMT, the benchmark Straits Times Index was up 0.03 percent or 0.85 points at 3,077.99. The MSCI index of Asia-Pacific shares outside Japan erased earlier losses to edge up 0.3 percent. Later on Thursday, weekly jobless claims and U.S. factory orders for August will be released.

Vanguard Group, the largest U.S. mutual fund company, has dropped MSCI as a benchmark provider and switched to tracking the FTSE Group's benchmarks for some of its index funds.

The move will negatively affect Singapore banks such as DBS Group Holdings Ltd, as their weightings are smaller in the FTSE, as well as oil rig builder Keppel Corp Ltd and Singapore Telecommunications Ltd, DBS Vickers said.

However, it added that CapitaCommercial Trust, Venture Corp, Singapore Post and SMRT Corp , will likely benefit as they are FTSE component stocks but not included in the MSCI Singapore Index.

1349 (0549 GMT) (Reporting by Charmian Kok in Singapore; Editing by Anand Basu;;


10:38 STOCKS NEWS SINGAPORE-OCBC cuts Golden Agri target price

OCBC Investment Research cut its target price for palm oil company Golden Agri-Resources Ltd to S$0.76 from S$0.81 and kept its 'buy' rating, citing a larger-than-expected drop in crude palm oil prices.

By 0228 GMT, Golden Agri shares were down 0.8 percent to S$0.63, and have dropped 11.9 percent since the start of the year, compared with the Straits Times Index's 16.2 percent rise.

OCBC has cut its revenue and earnings forecasts for 2013 by 6.7 percent each for Golden Agri, as it lowers its crude palm oil price assumption to $750/tonne from $950/tonne previously.

"Crude palm oil prices have been falling a lot faster than what the market had expected, hit by weaker-than-expected demand from China, leading to rising stockpiles in both Malaysia and Indonesia," OCBC said in a report.

1031 (0231 GMT) (Reporting by Charmian Kok in Singapore;; Editing by Jijo Jacob


10:09 STOCKS NEWS SINGAPORE-Maybank starts Hutchison Port at 'buy'

Maybank Kim Eng initiated coverage of Hutchison Port Holdings Trust with a 'buy' rating and a target price of $0.925, citing an attractive distribution yield, resilient earnings and growth potential.

Units of HPHT were up 1.3 percent at $0.755. They have gained 21.8 percent so far this year, but are still down 21 percent since HPHT's market debut in March 2011.

At current prices, HPHT offers a distribution yield of 8.4-9.1 percent, higher than most other real estate investment trusts and business trusts.

"Its current depressed price provides a rare opportunity to own a resilient business which would also be a beneficiary of a global economic recovery," said Maybank in a report.

HPHT's ports have shown throughput growth of about 10 percent a year on average from 1993 to 2011, but even during the global financial crisis in 2008 and 2009, volumes fell only 1 and 4 percent respectively, demonstrating its earnings resilience.

0959 (0159 GMT) (Reporting by Charmian Kok in Singapore; Editing by Gopakumar Warrier;


9:44 STOCKS NEWS SINGAPORE-CIMB raises Midas target price

CIMB Research raised its target price for Midas Holdings Ltd , which supplies components for railway projects, to S$0.63 from S$0.41 and kept its 'outperform' rating, citing expectations of more high-speed rail contract wins.

At 0126 GMT, Midas shares were up 1.2 percent at S$0.425. They have gained 28.8 percent since the start of the year, outperforming the FTSE ST China Index's 0.5 percent rise.

CSR Corp Ltd, China's state-owned locomotive manufacturer, expects to see high-speed contracts by the end of this year or the first quarter of 2013, which will benefit Midas, CIMB said.

Midas also has a strong balance sheet, relying on short-term loans and receivable securitisation to fund its working capital, the brokerage said.

Although Midas will be entering a capital-intensive phase when it starts construction of a new production facility, CIMB said its balance sheet offers some buffer in any prolonged order drought or liquidity shortage.

(Reporting by Charmian Kok in Singapore; Editing by Prateek Chatterjee;

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