STOCKS NEWS SINGAPORE-Index slightly up, CapitaMall Trust jumps

Singapore shares rose slightly, with shopping mall owner CapitaMall Trust and palm oil firm Wilmar International Ltd among the biggest gainers.

The Straits Times Index was up 0.4 percent at 3,043.52 points on Friday. On Thursday, the Singapore bourse fell to as low as 3,021.92 points, the weakest since Sept. 13.

Units of CapitaMall Trust gained as much as 2.9 percent to S$2.12, the highest in nearly two years.

"I think interest in REITs is starting to come back again probably on the back of more risk aversion," said Wilson Liew, an analyst at Maybank Kim Eng, noting that real estate investment trusts offer relatively attractive yield.

"Retail is one of our favourite sub-segments given that retail properties continue to exhibit defensiveness, and for CapitaMall Trust, most of its asset enhancements will be coming onstream this year and next year," Liew added.

Wilmar shares advanced as much as 3.3 percent to S$3.16 and were the second-highest traded stock by value. Earlier this week, Wilmar said in a stock filing that its chief operating officer, Martua Sitorus, had bought 2 million shares at S$3.18 each.

1232 (0432 GMT)

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


11:18 STOCKS NEWS SINGAPORE-Nomura bullish on aircraft MRO sector

Nomura said Singapore aviation maintenance, repair and overhaul (MRO) service providers such as Singapore Technologies Engineering Ltd and SIA Engineering Co Ltd are set to benefit from air traffic growth in Asia Pacific.

ST Engineering shares were flat at S$3.45 while SIA Engineering was unchanged at S$4.19 on Friday.

Commercial MRO business in 2012 is expected to increase 5.7 percent to $49.5 billion from a year earlier and then grow at a compounded annual growth rate of 3.7 percent between 2012 and 2017, Nomura said, citing a consultancy's forecast.

Large, well-capitalised MROs with presence across regions as well as capabilities and competence to develop new product lines are better placed to take advantage of the aviation upturn, Nomura added.

Nomura has a 'buy' rating and S$4.05 target price on ST Engineering, and a 'neutral' call with a S$4.60 target price on SIA Engineering.

1114 (0314 GMT)

(Reporting by Eveline Danubrata in Singapore; Editing by Sunil Nair;


10:15 STOCKS NEWS SINGAPORE-Maybank Kim Eng cuts Lian Beng target

Maybank Kim Eng lowered its target price on Lian Beng Group Ltd to S$0.54 from S$0.63, citing higher cash flow needed by the construction and property firm, which may affect dividend timing, but maintained its 'buy' rating.

Lian Beng shares were flat at S$0.395 on Friday. The stock has risen 14.5 percent so far this year versus the nearly 24 percent gain on the FT ST Small Cap Index .

From a net cash position, Lian Beng's total borrowing rose by S$96.6 million quarter-on-quarter to S$197.2 million on the back of higher financing costs for the development of two properties in Singapore, as well as increased working capital, Maybank said.

The group's net gearing now stands at 0.05 times, Maybank said. It added that Lian Beng's margins had shrunk on lower property sales recognition.

But the broker said Lian Beng's construction business and recurring income from pre-cast concrete products are expected to help shore up a dividend payout of 2 Singapore cents, which translates to a yield of 5.1 percent.

1007(0207 GMT) (Reporting by Eveline Danubrata in Singapore;; Editing by Jijo Jacob