STOCKS NEWS SINGAPORE-Index down on China growth concerns, commodities weigh

Singapore's key index slipped by midday, weighed by losses in commodity shares and as poor economic data from the city-state and China added to concerns of a worse-than-expected slowdown in the economy.

Golden Agri-Resources Ltd was the biggest loser on the Straits Times Index , falling 3.8 percent to S$0.63 after Malaysian palm oil futures plunged to their lowest in more than three years on Tuesday.

Commodity trader Noble Group also dropped 2.3 percent to S$1.29 and Olam lost 1.5 percent at S$2.01, as data showed China's economy is likely to head for a seventh straight quarter of slowdown.

China's official purchasing managers' index for the services sector fell to 53.7 in September from 56.3 in August as growth in the country's manufacturing industry stabilised at a slower pace. Singapore's PMI also shrank for the third straight month as new orders fell further.

Offshore vessel builder STX OSV Holdings Ltd rose as much as 1.9 percent to S$1.62 after it said it had won a contract to design and construction of a cable laying vessel worth 450 million Norwegian crowns ($79.03 million).

1250 (0450 GMT)

(Reporting by Charmian Kok in Singapore; Editing by G. Ram Mohan;


11:52 STOCKS NEWS SINGAPORE-DBS upgrades Singapore Exchange to 'hold'

DBS Vickers upgraded Singapore Exchange Ltd (SGX) to 'hold' from 'fully valued' and raised its target price to S$7.25 from S$5.40, citing a gradual pick-up in the bourse's volumes and values.

SGX shares were down 0.3 percent at S$6.96 on Wednesday. The stock has advanced 13.5 percent so far this year versus the 16 percent gain in the broader Straits Times Index .

DBS increased its securities average daily trading volumes estimate to 1.68 billion from 1.57 billion, and average daily trading values forecast to S$1.43 billion ($1.16 billion) from S$1.34 billion.

"Current valuations are not enticingly attractive but we believe downside should be limited and supported by decent dividend yields of 4-5 percent," DBS said. It raised its 2013-2014 fiscal year earnings estimates by 4 percent each.

SGX is slated to report its earnings for the first quarter of 2013 fiscal year on October 18. DBS expects SGX to report net profit of S$78 million on the back of S$172 million revenues and S$74 million expenses for the quarter.

1147 (0347 GMT)

(Reporting by Eveline Danubrata in Singapore; Editing by G. Ram Mohan;


10:50 STOCKS NEWS SINGAPORE-Japan, China dispute to hurt SATS profits - UOB

Airline services company SATS Ltd will be hurt by flight cancellations on China-Japan routes, which the market has not factored in yet, UOB Kay Hian said, and lowered its target price on the stock to S$2.40 from S$2.42.

At 0237 GMT, SATS shares were down 1.4 percent at S$2.73. They have gained nearly 27 percent since the start of the year, compared with the 23 percent gain in the FTSE ST Industrials Index .

SATS' 51 percent-owned Tokyo Flight Kitchen (TFK) derives 60 percent of its revenue from Japan Airlines, which has suspended some of its flights between Japan and China due to an ongoing territorial dispute, UOB said. It maintained its 'sell' rating on SATS stock.

The brokerage has cut its growth assumptions for TFK and reduced its 2013 net profit forecast by 4 percent to S$164.4 million.

1039 (0239 GMT)

(Reporting by Charmian Kok in Singapore; Editing by G. Ram MOhan;


10:09 STOCKS NEWS SINGAPORE-Maybank starts Yeo Hiap Seng at 'buy'

Maybank Kim Eng initiated coverage of Yeo Hiap Seng Ltd

with a 'buy' rating and a target price of S$2.25, on expectations of improving profitability and its exposure to the attractive food and beverage sector.

By 0201 GMT, Yeo Hiap Seng shares were unchanged at S$1.96, but have surged nearly 69 percent since the start of the year.

After restructuring, property developer Far East Organisation will emerge as a major shareholder of Yeo Hiap Seng, with a 66 percent stake in the company, Maybank said, adding that Yeo Hiap Seng is also planning to privatise its 61 percent owned unit Yeo Hiap Seng (Malaysia) Berhad , which will give it a larger share of profit from Malaysia.

Maybank said higher expected margins for Yeo Hiap Seng will also drive future profit growth, and its huge landbank, especially in Malaysia where it owns over 2 million square metres of land, is worth at least S$250 million.

Yeo Hiap Seng also has an agreement with PepsiCo Inc , giving it the right of first refusal to buy the company, who is its distributor and manufacturer in Singapore, Maybank said.

1003 (0203 GMT) (Reporting by Charmian Kok in Singapore; by G. Ram Mohan) ************************************************************

9:39 STOCKS NEWS SINGAPORE-Golden Agri falls on tumbling palm oil futures

Singapore-listed Golden Agri-Resources dropped as much as 3.8 percent after Malaysian palm oil futures plunged to their lowest in more than three years on Tuesday.

By 0117 GMT, shares of palm oil firm Golden Agri were down 2.3 percent at S$0.64 with 42.3 million shares traded, making it the most actively traded stock.

Smaller rival Indofood Agri Resources Ltd also lost 3.4 percent at S$1.30, with 2.8 million shares traded, equivalent to its full-day average volume over the last five sessions.

Malaysian palm oil futures dived to their lowest in more than three years on Tuesday, hurt by slowing demand from Asia and a drop in the edible oil's appeal as a substitute for soy oil, with the U.S. soybean harvest progressing at a record pace.

CIMB Research said recent export figures and its channel checks on last month's crude palm oil (CPO) harvest suggest that stocks could have risen to a higher-than-expected 2.5-2.6 million tonnes as of the end of September.

"We believe there is sufficient storage capacity but the concern is that buyers may defer purchases," said CIMB. However, it expects CPO price to rebound by the end of the year due to its attractive pricing relative to soybean oil, and has a 'trading buy' rating on the sector.

Its top picks are Sime Darby Bhd , Indofood Agri and Astra Agro Lestari .

0925 (0125 GMT) (Reporting by Charmian Kok in Singapore;; Editing by Jijo Jacob)

($1 = 1.2293 Singapore dollars)