Singapore marine firms slip; index quiet

SINGAPORE Mon Jan 13, 2014 12:39am EST

SINGAPORE Jan 13 (Reuters) - Shares of global marine and offshore engineering groups Sembcorp Industries Ltd and Sembcorp Marine Ltd slipped on Monday, while the broader Singapore Straits Times index was nearly flat on thin trading.

Sembcorp Marine hit a near one-month low, dropping as much as 1.6 percent, while Sembcorp Industries hit a three-week low after losing 1.3 percent, following Sembcorp Marine's announcement to buy back its daily shares after markets closed on Friday.

The benchmark Straits Times index eased 0.2 percent to 3137.13 points by 0532 GMT, despite Asian shares' slight resilience in the wake of surprisingly weak U.S. jobs numbers.

Trading volume was 35 percent of the 30 full-day trading average.

CIMB rated Singapore "overweight" as its shift from an input-based to a productivity-driven economy puts more restrictions on foreign labour. It expects a rise in housing vacancies and softening rents as a result.

"However, we think that the implications of the labour restructuring have been overblown. Some smaller companies may have closed but the larger ones are coping," CIMB said in a research note.

CIMB analysts also favoured the big names in Asian logistics such as Keppel T&T and CWT Ltd as they are positioned to capitalise on increasing e-commerce and corporate spending on logistics and their capacity to drive mergers and acquisitions in Asia.

"Increasing e-commerce and evolving global supply chain will ultimately result in increasing intra-Asian movement of goods but there is an acute shortage of delivery services and capacity in the region," CIMB said.

Singapore-based CWT Ltd, one of CIMB's top sector picks, was headed for a nine-week high, rising as much as 2.6 percent to S$1.37.

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