HPH Trust hits 7-week low on results; Singapore index firm

SINGAPORE Tue Feb 11, 2014 11:27pm EST

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SINGAPORE Feb 12 (Reuters) - Hutchison Port Holdings Trust slumped to a more than seven-week low on Wednesday after weak quarterly results, lagging behind the Singapore market, which was headed for a fifth day of gains.

Unit price of the port container business trust fell as much as 2.3 percent to $0.645, its lowest since Dec. 20.

The benchmark Straits Times Index was up 0.4 percent at 3,040.27 points as of 0348 GMT, while MSCI's broadest index of Asia-Pacific shares outside Japan gained more than 1 percent.

HPH Trust said net profit in the Oct-Dec quarter dropped 46.9 percent from a year earlier. Its 2013 net profit fell 25.1 percent, amid the slump in the shipping market and weighed down by costs due to a strike by port workers in Hong Kong last year.

Barclays Research maintains a neutral rating on the trust with a target price of $0.78, citing limited growth opportunities.

"We view the company as having limited growth opportunities, given weak container volumes in Southern China, and limited expansion inherent in the trust structure," Barclays said in its research note.

Barclays prefers competitors COSCO Pacific Ltd and China Merchants for their better growth outlook their recent overseas expansion.

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