Singapore shares were little changed, but Olam International Ltd outperformed after state investor Temasek Holdings raised its stake in the commodities firm and local media said investor Jim Rogers will take up Olam’s rights issue.
As of 1:02 pm local time (0436 GMT), The Straits Times Index (STI) was flat at 3,184.85, up 20 percent so far this year. MSCI’s broadest index of Asia-Pacific shares outside Japan was 0.4 percent higher, up more than 18 percent since the start of the year.
Olam shares were the biggest gainer on Friday, rising as much as 2.6 percent. Olam, which has been battling short-seller Muddy Waters, said in a stock market filing that Temasek had increased its stake in the company to 19 percent from 18 percent.
“When the STI started off the year, valuations were still depressed because of the euro zone crisis. What developed early in the year was that governments put up backstops to prevent tail risk events, and markets started to come up,” said Kenneth Ng, head of research at CIMB in Singapore.
Ng said property stocks had performed very well this year as liquidity continued to flood into Singapore, helping to offset the regulatory concerns in the city-state. But casino stocks fared worse than expected as fewer high rollers, particularly those from China, gambled in Singapore, he said.
The FT ST Real Estate Index surged more than 47 percent so far this year. Shares of Genting Singapore , which operates the Resorts World Sentosa casino-resort complex in the city-state, were down nearly 8 percent this year.
For 2013, CIMB downgraded Singapore to ‘neutral’ from ‘overweight’ this year, Ng said, citing the outperformance of the city-state’s market, domestic cost concerns and cheaper North Asian markets like China.