STOCKS NEWS SINGAPORE-Shares at one-yr high, F&N bucks trend

Thu Jul 19, 2012 1:05am EDT

Singapore shares rose to a one-year high, buoyed by strong corporate profits from U.S. bellwethers such as Intel Corp , but Fraser and Neave Ltd (F&N) underperformed the broader market on reports that Thai Beverage will buy a stake in the conglomerate.

The benchmark Straits Times Index was up 0.5 percent at 3,031.72 points, led by property developer City Developments Ltd's 2.3 percent gains.

However, shares of F&N fell as much as 3 percent to a one-week low at S$7.72. About 2.8 million shares changed hands, compared to its full day average volume of 3.3 million over the last five sessions.

"It seems like there's not going to be a general offer for F&N now, which is what the market was hoping for," said a local trader.

Thai Beverage, controlled by tycoon Charoen Sirivadhanabhakdi, said it has agreed to buy a 22 percent stake in F&N from Oversea-Chinese Banking Group, its insurance unit and the Lee family, which is the banking group's biggest shareholder.

1242 (0442 GMT)

(Reporting by Charmian Kok in Singapore; charmian.kok@thomsonreuters.com)

************************************************************

12:48 STOCKS NEWS SINGAPORE-Keppel Corp rises ahead of Q2 result

Shares of Singapore's Keppel Corp Ltd, the world's largest oil rig builder, rose as much as 1.7 percent on expectation that its second-quarter earnings will beat analyst forecast, traders said.

Keppel Corp shares were up 1.5 percent at S$11.22 on volume of 4.4 million shares, 1.1 times the average full-day volume over the past 30 days. The stock was the third-highest traded by value in the Singapore market.

Keppel Corp, which is also involved in property, infrastructure and investments, will report its April-June result after trading hours today.

Five analysts polled by Reuters expect Keppel Corp to report net profit of S$383 million ($304.3 million) on average.

Keppel Corp's property arm, Keppel Land Ltd, reported on Wednesday a 87.5 percent rise in second-quarter net profit, lifted by its high-end residential project in Singapore and K-REIT Asia.

Keppel Corp's property business contributed nearly 15 percent of its total revenue in 2011.

1230 (0430 GMT)

(Reporting by Eveline Danubrata in Singapore; eveline.danubrata@thomsonreuters.com)

**********************************************************

12:19 STOCKS NEWS SINGAPORE-APB rises to record; Heineken eyed

Shares of Asia Pacific Breweries Ltd (APB) jumped to a record after companies linked to a Thai billionaire agreed to buy stakes in the brewery and conglomerate Fraser and Neave Ltd .

APB shares jumped as much 15.5 percent to S$44.00, just below the offer price of S$45.00 per APB share. F&N shares were down 2.4 percent at S$7.77.

F&N owns about 40 percent of APB, one of the region's largest brewers and maker of the popular Tiger beer. Heineken owns about 42 percent of APB, a prized stake thanks to fast growing beer sales across Asia Pacific.

"There's expectation that Heineken may want to defend its stake. If the deal is already done, they can't do a counter-offer, but maybe they can try to buy APB shares from elsewhere," said a local trader.

APB has a free float of around 17 percent.

1200 (0400 GMT)

(Reporting by Eveline Danubrata in Singapore; eveline.danubrata@thomsonreuters.com)

**********************************************************

11:23 STOCKS NEWS SINGAPORE-CIMB lowers CapitaMall Trust target

CIMB Research said Singapore shopping mall owner CapitaMall Trust's second-quarter earnings showed signs of weakness in shopper traffic and tenant sales growth, and lowered its target price on the stock to S$2.01 from S$2.02.

By 0255 GMT, CapitaMall Trust units were down 0.8 percent at S$1.95. They have gained 14.7 percent this year, underperforming the FT ST Real Estate Investment Trust's 22 percent rise.

CIMB said CapitaMall Trust's shopper traffic fell 3 percent in the first half compared with a year ago, while tenant sales growth moderated to 1.5 percent year-on-year, versus 3.9 percent in the first quarter.

CapitaMall Trust's management attributed the weakness to construction work at two of its properties in Singapore, IMM and Plaza Singapura, the brokerage noted.

"While portfolio performance should remain resilient, we see limited share price upside from current levels," said CIMB, which kept its 'neutral' rating on the stock.

Separately, DBS Vickers downgraded CapitaMall Trust to 'hold' from 'buy' and kept its target price at S$2.05 citing valuations.

To read a related statement, click

1058 (0258 GMT)

(Reporting by Charmian Kok in Singapore; charmian.kok@thomsonreuters.com)

************************************************************

11:04 STOCKS NEWS SINGAPORE-UOB Kay Hian raises targets on telcos

UOB Kay Hian raised its target prices on Singapore telecommunication firms - Singapore Telecommunications Ltd , StarHub Ltd and M1 Ltd - as they are considered more attractive amid low interest rates.

The broker increased its targets on SingTel by 12.6 percent, M1 by 11 percent and StarHub by 10.6 percent. On Thursday, StarHub shares were up 1.1 percent at S$3.62, SingTel was 0.6 percent higher at S$3.50 and M1 was flat at S$2.58.

Interest rates in Singapore, which are highly correlated to those in the United States, are expected to remain exceptionally low for an extended period of time, UOB Kay Hian said.

Singapore telcos offer yields that have become increasingly higher than government bond yields.

"Telcos in Singapore have consistently provided attractive dividend yield, coupled with regular episodes of capital management exercises and are thus correctly perceived as yield plays," UOB Kay Hian said.

It added that sector catalysts include increased usage of wireless broadband, differentiated services and implementation of lower caps on mobile data.

1051 (0251 GMT)

(Reporting by Eveline Danubrata in Singapore; eveline.danubrata@thomsonreuters.com)

************************************************************

STOCKS NEWS SINGAPORE-Maybank raises Keppel Land target price

Maybank Kim Eng raised its target price for property developer Keppel Land Ltd to S$4.04 from S$3.65 and kept its 'buy' rating, on signs its sales in China are improving.

By 0158 GMT, shares of Keppel were 1.5 percent higher at S$3.44, and have surged 55 percent so far this year, outperforming the FT ST Financial Index's 25.4 percent gains.

Keppel reported an 87.5 percent jump in its second quarter earnings to S$94.7 million, lifted by its high-end residential project in Singapore and K-REIT Asia, a real estate investment trust that it sponsors.

Keppel's actual residential pre-sales improved in the second quarter, especially in China where it sold 491 units, up from 187 units in the previous three months, Maybank said.

"With buyers' interest seemingly picking up in China, we think that Keppel Land will benefit and continue to roll out more units from its mass market projects, such as The Botanica in Chengdu and Tianjin Eco-city," Maybank said.

It added that Keppel's low net gearing of 0.2 times will allow it to remain nimble while seeking out acquisition opportunities.

To read a related story, click

1001 (0201 GMT)

(Reporting by Charmian Kok in Singapore; charmian.kok@thomsonreuters.com)

************************************************************

9:45 STOCKS NEWS SINGAPORE-DMG ups target price for OCBC

DMG & Partners raised its target price for Oversea-Chinese Banking Corp to S$8.54 from S$8.30 and kept its 'neutral' rating, citing gains from the sale of its stake in Fraser and Neave (F&N) and potential special dividends.

Shares of OCBC were up 1 percent at S$9.39, and have gained nearly 20 percent since the start of the year, compared to the Straits Times Index's 14.5 percent rise.

OCBC said it and its insurance unit Great Eastern Holdings will make a total post-tax gain of S$1.15 billion from the stake sale in F&N to Thai Beverage and other companies linked to a Thai billionaire.

DMG said OCBC may pay out special dividends, but the amount will not be significant as OCBC would want to retain capital to expand its core financial business.

The brokerage estimates that OCBC's potential special dividend could be up to 26 Singapore cents, but believes the bank will pay out less than that.

To read a statement, click

0934 (0134 GMT)

(Reporting by Charmian Kok in Singapore; charmian.kok@thomsonreuters.com)