STOCKS NEWS SINGAPORE-Index at 16-mth high; CapitaMalls Asia outperforms

Sun Dec 9, 2012 11:23pm EST

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Singapore shares rose to the highest in about 16 months, after encouraging economic data from China and the United States, with property firms CapitaMalls Asia Ltd and Hongkong Land Holdings Ltd leading the gains.

The Straits Times Index advanced as much as 1 percent to 3,139.40 points, the highest since early August 2011. MSCI's broadest index of Asia Pacific shares outside Japan was 0.2 percent higher.

Shares of CapitaMalls Asia rose as much as 2.8 percent to S$2.01, the highest since February 2011. More than 8.6 million shares were traded, 1.2 times the average full-day volume over the past 30 days.

Nomura sees limited upside to the valuation of CapitaLand Ltd's residential development business at the current level, and advised investors to buy CapitaMalls Asia, a unit of CapitaLand which owns, develops and manages shopping malls.

"We believe it is more attractive to invest directly in CMA to maximise returns from its core earnings recovery and potential capital recycling opportunities," Nomura said.

Shares of Interra Resources Ltd gained as much as 5.2 percent on volume of 20.3 million shares, more than double the average full-day volume over the past 30 days. The share price was 5.3 times the level at the start of the year.

OCBC Investment Research said the share price surge was fuelled by Interra's exposure to Myanmar and possible significant oil and gas discoveries in the country, as well as the potential of its exploratory block in Indonesia.

OCBC said it believes the company, which recently completed a rights issue, has enough cash to fund its requirements in 2013, barring significant discoveries. It added that Interra shares could be worth S$0.441.

1212 (0412 GMT)

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

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10:29 STOCKS NEWS SINGAPORE-OCBC raises target on Petra Foods, keeps 'buy'

OCBC Investment Research raised its target price for Petra Foods Ltd to S$3.12 from S$2.98 and maintained its 'buy' rating, saying its valuation premium is justified due to the company's exposure to emerging consumer demand in Asia.

OCBC raised its valuation of Petra to 25 times 12-month forward price-earnings from 24 times.

Petra shares were down 1.05 percent at S$2.84 on Monday. The stock has risen 53.5 percent so far this year, leading the 29 percent gain in the FT ST Mid Cap Index.

OCBC expects revenue growth of 3.8 percent for 2013 fiscal year mainly on the back of Petra's branded consumer division, which is driven by consumption growth in the company's key markets of Indonesia and the Philippines.

The combination of higher-margin product mix, average selling price increases and favourable raw material costs have helped Petra's branded consumer unit to offset the weakness in the cocoa ingredients division, OCBC said.

Petra manufactures and supplies cocoa ingredients, on top of selling its own confectionery brands, such as the SilverQueen chocolate which is popular in Indonesia.

OCBC expects an easing of the yield pressure in the cocoa ingredients division in the coming months, helping group margins to improve to around 9 percent in 2013 fiscal year from 7.6 percent in 2011.

1022 (0222 GMT)

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