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 percent.
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.