STOCKS NEWS SINGAPORE-Maybank ups target price on Keppel Corp

Maybank Kim Eng raised its target price on rigbuilder Keppel Corp Ltd to S$13.30 from S$12.90, and kept its 'buy' rating to reflect the higher share prices of some of its units such as Dyna-Mac Holdings Ltd .

At 0221 GMT, Keppel shares were down 0.97 percent at S$11.23. They have risen 20.8 percent this year, compared with the Straits Times Index's 14.9 percent rise. Dyna-Mac, which is about 27 percent-owned by Keppel, has gained 16.5 percent this year.

Maybank expects Keppel to report a 22 percent year-on-year fall in its third quarter net profit to S$317 million, due to lower offshore and marine margins. But the brokerage is not concerned about weaker earnings as it expects orders for rigbuilders to continue.

"We may even see some margin expansion for new contracts as pricing power shifts to the yards due to tightness in yard slot availability," Maybank said in a report.

The brokerage expects Keppel's offshore and marine operating margins to have reached a bottom of 13.2 percent in the second quarter and sees an improvement in the next two quarters.

1033 (0233 GMT) (Reporting by Charmian Kok in Singapore; ************************************************************

9:37 STOCKS NEWS SINGAPORE-OCBC upgrades Raffles Medical to 'buy'

OCBC Investment Research upgraded healthcare service provider Raffles Medical Group to 'buy' from 'hold' and raised its target price to S$2.82 from S$2.63, on expectations of stronger earnings in the second half of the year.

By 0125 GMT, shares of Raffles Medical were flat at S$2.47, and have gained 16.5 percent since the start of the year, compared to the FTSE ST Mid Cap Index's 26.2 percent rise.

Although staff costs are rising, OCBC said the company will see better patient loads, giving it room to raise charges.

The brokerage expects Raffles Medical's revenue and core earnings to grow 8.2 percent and 24 percent in the second half of the year compared to the previous six months.

The opening of a new specialist centre in the first half of 2013 will help to boost Raffles Medical's net margin to 17.7 percent from 17.3 percent, OCBC said.

0928 (0128 GMT) (Reporting by Charmian Kok in Singapore; (Editing by Eric Meijer)