STOCKS NEWS SINGAPORE-Shares slip at midday; Olam extends losses

Last Updated: Thu, Dec 06, 2012 05:15 hrs

Singapore shares slipped by midday despite comments from U.S. President Barack Obama that a deal to avert a 'fiscal cliff' was likely soon, as losses in commodity trader Olam International Ltd weighed.

Shares of Olam International Ltd, which has been battling short-seller Muddy Waters, fell to the lowest in more than 3-1/2 years on concerns about the impact of a $1.2 billion rights issue on the Singapore commodities firm's financing costs.

Olam shares declined as much as 5.9 percent to S$1.425, the lowest since March 2009. Some 38.1 million shares changed hands, making it the second most actively traded stock by value.

The benchmark Straits Times Index was down 0.2 percent at 3,070.28 points by midday, while MSCI's broadest index of Asia-Pacific shares outside Japan was flat.

Shares in China Minzhong Food Corp Ltd fell 8.8 percent to S$0.775, after a block trade fuelled speculation one of its largest shareholders had sold its stake in the food processing firm. [ID:nL4N09G0B7}

1059 (0259 GMT)

(Reporting by Charmian Kok in Singapore; Editing by Anupama Dwivedi;


11:13 STOCKS NEWS SINGAPORE-Industrial rents may fall 7-10 pct- DBS

Singapore's industrial sector is near a tipping point, and rents are expected to decline 7-10 percent on rising vacancy rates, DBS Vickers said, adding that its top pick among real estate investment trusts with exposure to the sector is Mapletree Logistics Trust.

As of 0259 GMT, units of Mapletree Logistics, which owns logistic assets, were down 0.45 percent at S$1.095 but have surged 31.7 percent since the start of the year, compared to a 32 percent rise in the FTSE ST Real Estate Industrial Trust Index.

Lower completion of new industrial space over the last few years had resulted in record low vacancy levels and a strong surge in industrial capital values and rents since the start of 2012.

However, DBS estimates that close to 49.7 million square feet of industrial space under construction now will be completed over 2013-2015, which represents more than twice the annual supply over the last decade.

"As operating conditions get progressively tougher in the coming quarters, we believe that industrial landlords will likely see lower retention rates," said DBS in a report.

The brokerage forecasts vacancy rates to rise by 4-5 percentage points as a result and spot rents to decline by 7-10 percent over 2013-2015.

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