Singapore shares firmed after a four-week decline that pushed
the benchmark index down to a six-month low last week, with
shares of Wilmar International Ltd leading with a
nearly 5 percent jump.
The Straits Times Index rose 0.8 percent to
3,186.73 on Monday, pulling away from a six-month trough of
3,094.86 hit last week. The MSCI's broadest index of
Asia-Pacific shares outside Japan was up half a
Wilmar, whose businesses span production and distribution of
palm oil and other agricultural products, climbed to as high as
S$3.28, its highest in June, up from a seven-month low of S$3.06
hit last week. Wilmar has fallen more than 2 percent so far this
year, lagging behind the index's 0.6 percent gain.
Citi picked Wilmar as a top choice among the planters and
traders in ASEAN region, as it sees agri-traders better
protected against the downside in palm oil prices.
"Diversified players such as Wilmar, Sime Darby
and IOI along with those with sales forward exposure
such as First Resources would, in our view, suffer the
least if the CPO (crude palm oil) price environment is weaker
than expected," Citi analysts wrote in a research note.
Citi cut its CPO price forecast by 11 percent to $800 a
tonne for 2013, in a second forecast reduction this year.
"There's some renewed interest in the counter after Citi's
note," said one trader.