Singapore shares headed for biggest daily gain in 2 months
SINGAPORE, Dec 17 - Singapore shares were headed for their biggest daily gain in more than two months, encouraged by upbeat data from the United States and euro zone, while trading was slow as investors were waiting for a key U.S. central bank meeting.
The benchmark Straits Times Index was up 0.6 percent at 3,072.22 by 0422 GMT, in line with a 0.3 percent gain in the MSCI's broadest index of Asia-Pacific shares outside Japan.
A total of 74 million shares on the index changed hands, just over a third of the 30-day average daily turnover.
Thai Beverage PCL was the best performer, jumping as much as 5.1 percent to a nearly two-month high at S$0.515, off a three-month low hit last week when rating agency Standard & Poor's downgraded the company's debt to junk status.
Maybank Kim Eng downgraded Singapore's property sector but singled out a few stocks that have reduced exposure to the residential sector and strong overseas presence, including CapitaMalls Asia Ltd, CapitaLand Limited and Keppel Land Ltd.
Keppel Land led the pack with a 1.2 percent gain, to S$3.37, off a three-month low of S$3.30 on Monday. CapitaMalls Asia gained half a percent to S$1.905 and CapitaLand inched up 0.3 percent to S$2.96.
"We downgrade the Singapore property sector from Overweight to Neutral as we believe the prospect of QE (quantitative easing) tapering in 2014 will be a drag on Singapore developers' share prices," said Maybank Kim Eng analysts in a research note.
The analysts gave their preference to CapitaMalls Asia, due to a promising outlook for its mall operations in Singapore and China. CapitaLand and Keppel Land are also in favour for their diversified business models, reduced exposure in Singapore's residential sector and strong execution in China.
Maybank lifted its target price for CapitaMalls Asia to S$2.60 on a strong growth trajectory. CapitaLand and Keppel Land remained attractive due to growth momentum in China, with target prices set at S$3.88 and S$4.60 respectively.
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