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STOCKS NEWS SINGAPORE-Index falls after China's factory data

Monday, 1 Oct 2012 | 1:12 AM ET

Singapore shares fell, largely in line with regional markets, after the latest survey of factory managers showed China's economy is seeing a seventh straight quarter of slowing growth.

The Straits Times Index and the MSCI index of Asia-Pacific shares outside Japan was each down 0.4 percent.

One of the biggest decliners on the Singapore bourse was Wilmar International Ltd , which eased as much as 2.2 percent to S$3.18.

Before the fall on Monday, the stock had gained nearly 2 percent after the palm oil giant announced a joint venture with United States cereal maker Kellogg Co to expand into China's breakfast and snack market.

OCBC Investment Research said while the joint venture allows Wilmar to monetise its extensive distribution channels in China and diversify downstream, the benefits are not likely to be seen immediately.

OCBC maintained its 'hold' rating and S$3.06 target price on Wilmar.

Shares of AusGroup Ltd , which provides construction services to the mining as well as oil and gas industries, extended their gains after the company said last week it was looking to list its operations on the Australian Securities Exchange.

AusGroup shares gained as much as 5 percent on volume of nearly 36 million shares. It was the top traded stock by volume and the third-highest by value in the Singapore market.

1300 (0500 GMT) (Reporting by Eveline Danubrata in Singapore; eveline.danubrata@thomsonreuters.com) ************************************************************

11:21 STOCKS NEWS SINGAPORE-CIMB raises target on United Engineers

CIMB Research raised its target price on United Engineers Ltd to S$3.14 from S$2.78 and maintained its 'outperform' rating to factor in the company's hospitality assets and business park values.

United shares were down 0.4 percent at S$2.48 on Monday. The stock has increased 32 percent so far this year versus the 25 percent gain in the FT ST Small Cap Index .

CIMB said United's portfolio of investment assets has grown to S$1.7 billion ($1.4 billion). It added that it sees potential for redevelopment of the company's building in Singapore, UE Square, and does not rule out asset divestments.

United's balance sheet is likely to strengthen in 2014 - a good time for large developments or acquisitions - and the firm may give a potential dividend surprise, CIMB said. Its target price was pegged to a 35 percent discount to revised net asset value, it added.

However, CIMB flagged a weak 2012 fiscal year due to a change in accounting treatment, with United's earnings backed purely by investment properties and construction segment.

1110 (0310 GMT)

(Reporting by Eveline Danubrata in Singapore; Editing by Sunil Nair; eveline.danubrata@thomsonreuters.com) ($1 = 1.2267 Singapore dollars)

Keywords: MARKETS SINGAPORE STOCKSNEWS/MIDDAY