August 14, 2012 / 1:25 AM / 5 years ago

STOCKS NEWS SINGAPORE-Noble shares at 8-week high on strong earnings

Shares of commodity trader Noble Group rose as much as 5.4 percent to an eight-week high after it reported strong quarterly earnings and several brokerages raised their target prices on the firm.

By 0111 GMT, Noble shares were 4.9 percent higher at S$1.17, with 22.2 million shares traded, making it the most actively traded stock on the exchange.

Noble recorded a 39.3 percent rise in its April-June net profit, helped by a rise in sales and strong volume growth.

OCBC Investment Research upgraded Noble to ‘buy’ from ‘hold’ and raised its target price to S$1.28 from S$1.21, as it expects stronger revenue for the year.

Although Noble saw higher volumes and a record tonnage of 107 million in the first half, operating margins were lower, OCBC noted.

CIMB Research also raised its target price for Noble to S$1.46 from S$1.42, and kept its ‘outperform’ rating, as it expects its South American grain origination business to benefit from the U.S. drought.

“Profits will strengthen in the second half as sugar harvesting peaks,” said CIMB in a report, raising its 2012-2014 earnings per share estimates by 1-3 percent.

0912 (0112 GMT)

Reporting by Charmian Kok in Singapore;

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