STOCKS NEWS SINGAPORE-DBS trims target prices for UOB, OCBC

Mon Oct 22, 2012 11:58pm EDT

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DBS Vickers has trimmed its earnings estimates for Singapore banks for the next two years due to a weaker economic outlook, and cut its target prices for United Overseas Bank Ltd and Oversea-Chinese Banking Corp Ltd.

Shares of UOB were down 0.2 percent at S$18.57, but have surged 21.6 percent since the start of the year, outperforming the benchmark Straits Times Index's 15 percent gain. OCBC fell 0.1 percent to S$9.23, but have risen 17.9 percent year-to-date.

The brokerage has lowered OCBC's target price to S$10.70 from S$11 and UOB's to S$19.70 from S$21, but prefers OCBC for its fee income from its private bank unit Bank of Singapore and insurer Great Eastern. It maintains a 'buy' rating on OCBC and has a 'hold' on UOB.

DBS Vickers expects Singapore banks to see slower loan growth due to weaker economic growth and the recent property cooling measures introduced by the government. It trimmed its 2013-2014 loan growth rate to 8 percent from 10 percent and cut its earnings estimates by 4-7 percent over the same period.

Pressure on net interest margins are likely to continue, with a hike in Singapore interbank offer rates unlikely until 2015, DBS said.

"Earnings momentum is likely to soften as we go into 2013. As such, we expect banks to trade range-bound and remain well supported by decent dividend yields of 3-4 percent," DBS said.

1152 (0352 GMT) (Reporting by Charmian Kok in Singapore; Editing by Anand Basu; charmian.kok@thomsonreuters.com)

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10:52 STOCKS NEWS SINGAPORE-DMG upgrades CapitaMall Trust to 'buy'

DMG & Partners upgraded CapitaMall Trust to 'buy' from 'hold' and raised its target price to S$2.36 from S$2.03, citing higher contributions from new shopping malls.

By 0232 GMT, units of CapitaMall Trust rose 1.4 percent to S$2.16. They have surged 27 percent since the start of the year, compared with the FTSE ST Real Estate Investment Trust Index's 35 percent rise.

CapitaMall Trust's third-quarter distribution per unit was flat at 2.42 Singapore cents compared with a year earlier.

However, DMG expects CapitaMall Trust to post strong earnings going forward, helped by higher contributions from its shopping malls JCube and Bugis+, which opened in April and August respectively.

The trust should also see additional income after renovation at its Orchard Atrium mall in Singapore is completed in the fourth quarter.

"As the hunt for dividend yield plays continues on the back of high liquidity, prolonged low interest rate environment and a strong Singapore currency, we believe CMT has room for further upside," said DMG in a report.

1037 (0237 GMT) (Reporting by Charmian Kok in Singapore; Editing by Anupama Dwivedi; charmian.kok@thomsonreuters.com)

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9:31 STOCKS NEWS SINGAPORE-CIMB ups Raffles Medical target price

CIMB Research raised its target price on shares of Raffles Medical Group Ltd to S$3.52 from S$2.96 and kept its 'outperform' rating, as it expects the healthcare provider to see operating efficiency.

By 0124 GMT, Raffles Medical shares were up 0.4 percent at S$2.54, and have gained 19.8 percent since the start of the year, underperforming the FTSE ST Mid Cap Index's 28.4 percent rise.

Raffles Medical said its net profit in the third quarter rose 7 percent to S$12.7 million from a year ago, which was below CIMB's estimates.

The brokerage cut its 2012-2014 earnings per share forecasts by 2-10 percent to account for higher staff costs.

However, CIMB noted that salary increases were in line with industry-wide practices, and expects Raffles Medical to see a slowdown in new hiring, which will reverse the trend of rising staff costs, allowing operating efficiency to follow.

0926 (0126 GMT) (Reporting by Charmian Kok in Singapore; Editing by Anand Basu; charmian.kok@thomsonreuters.com)

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