STOCKS NEWS SINGAPORE-Shares rise slightly; Genting up

Thu Dec 13, 2012 12:47am EST

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Singapore shares were up slightly at midday, in line with other Asian bourses after the U.S. Federal Reserve introduced new stimulus steps to boost the flagging economy.

As of 0512 GMT, the benchmark Straits Times Index was up 0.4 percent at 3,154.97, while the MSCI's broadest index of Asia-Pacific shares outside Japan gained 0.3 percent.

Casino operator Genting Singapore and conglomerate Jardine Strategic Holdings Ltd were among the biggest gainers, rising 2.7 percent and 2.8 percent respectively.

However, palm oil firms underperformed the broader market, tracking a fall in Malaysian palm oil futures on concerns over record inventories.

Golden Agri-Resources Ltd fell 1.5 percent to S$0.65 and and Wilmar International Ltd lost 0.6 percent at S$3.16.

Keppel Corp's latest contract wins worth $420 million from Mexico's state oil firm shows that non-Brazilian order momentum will continue next year, said CIMB Research.

The latest order wins lifts Keppel's non-Brazilian orders to S$4.5 billion so far this year, above CIMB's expectations of S$4 billion. The brokerage estimates that Keppel could still win another $6 billion worth of orders from now till the end of 2013, including orders from Statoil, Maersk and Azerbaijan's Socar.

1332 (0532 GMT)

(Reporting by Charmian Kok in Singapore; Editing by G.Ram Mohan; charmian.kok@thomsonreuters.com)

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13:27 STOCKS NEWS SINGAPORE-DMG raises target on Osim, keeps 'buy'

DMG & Partners Securities raised its target price for Osim International Ltd to S$2.04 from S$1.75 and maintained its 'buy' rating, saying investors have turned more confident about the company's earnings.

Osim shares were down 0.3 percent at S$1.80 on Thursday.

Two new massage chairs will drive Osim's earnings for 2013-2014 fiscal years, DMG said. It added that China, where the massage chairs penetration rates are still at 1 percent despite having a growing pool of newly rich, is a key market for Osim.

DMG sees more sales in Osim's nutritional supplements business, which is represented under GNC and the company's own proprietary brand RichLife. It also sees growth in Osim's luxury tea retailing business TWG.

1320 (0520 GMT)

(Reporting by Eveline Danubrata in Singapore; Editing by Jijo Jacobeveline.danubrata@thomsonreuters.com)

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10:54 STOCKS NEWS SINGAPORE-Brokers upgrade Petra Foods after cocoa unit sale

CIMB Research and DBS Vickers upgraded their ratings and target prices for cocoa firm Petra Foods Ltd after it announced plans to divest its cocoa ingredients business.

CIMB Research upgraded Petra to 'outperform' from 'underperform' and raised its target price to S$3.77 from S$1.92, saying it views the company's move to focus on its branded consumer arm as a positive one.

By 0234 GMT, Petra shares were up 1.5 percent at S$3.36, having jumped 20.4 percent on Wednesday after it said Swiss chocolate maker Barry Callebaut was buying its cocoa business for $950 million. Petra shares have surged 82 percent since the start of the year.

Although cocoa ingredients account for 35 percent of Petra Food's 2011 profits, the significance of the business is declining as grinding margins fall, CIMB said. Shareholders can look forward to a special dividend of up to S$0.60, it added.

"Petra's evolution into a pure consumer play could spark a rerating," CIMB said, adding that its balance sheet will be strengthened from 1.7 times net debt to a net cash position.

DBS Vickers said Petra's branded consumer division has better margins and more stable growth, noting that the company is also an attractive acquisition target for global chocolate confectionary firms.

The brokerage upgraded Petra to 'buy' and raised its target price to S$3.97 from S$1.95.

1039 (0239 GMT)

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