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Singapore shares extended gains for the eighth straight session, led by warehouse operator Global Logistic Properties Ltd , after a survey showed growth in China's manufacturing sector picked up in December.
As of 0553 GMT, the Straits Times Index was up 0.2 percent at 3164.83, while MSCI's broadest index of Asia-Pacific shares outside Japan was flat. Gains were capped by concerns that U.S. lawmakers are still too far apart to avert a fiscal crisis as an end-of-year deadline looms.
GLP, which owns warehouses in China and Japan, gained 3 percent to S$2.79, while property developer City Developments Ltd rose 3.5 percent to S$12.91.
The HSBC flash purchasing managers' index for December hit a 14-month high of 50.9, the fifth straight monthly gain, showing growth in China's vast manufacturing sector has picked up and underlined a brighter outlook for the economy in coming months.
OCBC Investment Research said valuations for the Singapore market are not excessive and it expects a healthy pipeline of initial public offerings, takeover and privatisation exercises in 2013 to help buoy interest in the market.
It remains overweight on oil and gas, banking, healthcare sectors and selective property sectors. The brokerage's stock picks for next year include Biosensors International Group , CapitaMalls Asia Ltd, Starhill Global REIT, Sembcorp Marine Ltd and Ezion Holdings Ltd.
1359 (0559 GMT) (Reporting by Charmian Kok in Singapore; Editing by G.Ram Mohan; email@example.com)
10:23 STOCKS NEWS SINGAPORE-OCBC ups CityDev target price
OCBC Investment Research raised its target price for property developer City Developments Ltd to S$13.96 from S$13.18, and kept its 'buy' rating on the stock, citing healthy demand for some major residential project launches in the next year.
CityDev shares were up 0.2 percent at S$12.50 by 0215 GMT. They have gained 40.4 percent since the start of the year, compared with the Straits Times Index's 19 percent rise.
CityDev is expected to launch the Echelon, a 508-unit condominium near a centrally located train station in Singapore, which OCBC anticipates will sell well due to its good location. CityDev could also launch a 912-unit development in the east of the island.
OCBC also noted CityDev management's expectations that mass market residential projects will continue selling well due to abundant liquidity in the market, with prices expected to show moderate increases.
CityDev is likely to be active in government land sales tenders in future, especially for mass markets sites located near train stations, it said.