STOCKS NEWS SINGAPORE-Index slips to 7-week low

Thu Nov 1, 2012 1:30am EDT

Singapore's main index slipped to a seven-week low, in line with a fall in other Asian bourses, as cyclical commodity firms Noble Group Ltd and Golden Agri-Resources Ltd weighed.

By 0504 GMT, the Straits Times Index (STI) was 0.3 percent lower at 3,028.13 points, while the MSCI index of Asia-Pacific shares outside Japan fell 0.4 percent. Noble fell 1.9 percent to S$1.285 while Golden Agri dropped 1.6 percent to S$0.615.

DBS Vickers said the STI has seen a downward revision for forward earnings so far this year, with 13.3 times 2013 price-to-earnings for the index at 3,057 points, compared to 3,083 last week.

Unless there is further upward earnings revision, the STI will likely head lower this month to 2,985 points, and concerns over an environment with declining growth and inflationary pressures will continue to weigh on sentiment, DBS said.

Taxi operator ComfortDelGro Corp Ltd fell 2.4 percent to S$1.65, after a block deal of 320,000 shares was transacted at that price. A total of 1.8 million shares changed hands by midday.

Shares of public transport provider SMRT Corp Ltd fell 1.7 percent to S$1.705 after the company cut its dividend to 1.50 Singapore cents a share for the first half of the year, compared with 1.75 Singapore cents a year earlier.

SMRT said its second quarter net profit fell 2.2 percent to S$33.3 million from a year earlier, hurt by higher losses from its bus business and higher operating expenses for its trains. 1316 (0516 GMT) (Reporting by Charmian Kok in Singapore; Editing by Anand Basu; charmian.kok@thomsonreuters.com)

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12:51 STOCKS NEWS SINGAPORE-Biosensors shares down at 20-month low

Shares of Biosensors International fell as much as 5.5 percent to a 20-month low, which OCBC Investment Research attributed to ongoing concerns over the impact of mandatory price cuts in stents in countries including India, China and Japan.

By 0436 GMT, Biosensors shares were down 2.8 percent at S$1.055 with 6.8 million shares traded, 1.5 times its average daily volume over the last five sessions. Its shares have plunged 26 percent since the start of the year, compared with the 25.4 percent rise in the FTSE ST Mid Cap Index.

OCBC noted that Terumo Corp, which licenses Biosensors' drug-eluting stent technology for a royalty fee, said sales of one of its Nobori drug-eluting stent in Japan were hurt by an official price cut by the National Health Insurance and rising competition from new product launches.

This would affect Biosensors' licensing revenues in the second quarter ended September, OCBC said. Biosensors is reporting its second quarter results on Nov. 7.

1242 (0424 GMT)

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

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9:23 STOCKS NEWS SINGAPORE-CIMB cuts Indofood target price

CIMB Research cut its target price for palm oil firm Indofood Agri Resources to S$1.55 from S$1.82 and kept its 'outperform' rating, citing weak quarterly core earnings due to high estate costs and lower rubber earnings.

By 0108 GMT, Indofood Agri shares fell 2.8 percent to S$1.225, and have dropped 3.2 percent since the start of the year, compared to a 20 percent loss in the FTSE ST Consumer Goods Index.

Indofood Agri's third quarter net profit rose 22 percent to S$35 million from a year ago, lifted by higher sales volume of palm products and contribution from sugar operations.

However, CIMB said its core net profit for July-September fell 24 percent to 242 rupiah from a year ago as higher costs and inventories offset stronger sugar earnings.

The broker noted that Indofood said it is keeping its 2012 crude palm oil production target of 890,000-900,000 tonnes, suggesting a strong fourth quarter output, which could help lift sales.

0917 (0117 GMT)

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