July 16, 2012 / 9:08 AM / 5 years ago

STOCKS NEWS SINGAPORE-S'pore office costs are world's 16th highest-CBRE

Singapore's office rents remain competitive, coming in at number 16 globally versus Hong Kong's central business district which ranked as the world's most expensive office market, according to a survey by property consultancy CBRE.

Singapore's overall occupancy costs stood at $117.39 per square foot per year, compared with Hong Kong Central's $248.83, said CBRE, which tracks occupancy costs for prime office space in 133 markets globally.

Other Asian office markets in the top 10 include Tokyo (rank 3), Beijing's Jianguomen (4), Beijing's Finance Street (6), Hong Kong's West Kowloon (7) and New Delhi's Connaught Place (9).

"With office rents expected to ease further going forward, the Singapore office market appears set to retain its cost competitive edge over many other financial centres and other regional cities," said Moray Armstrong, executive director for office services at CBRE.

Of the world's top 50 most expensive office markets, 19 are in Asia-Pacific, 19 in Europe, Middle East and Africa, and 12 in the Americas.

Singapore real estate investment trusts that have office assets in the city-state include CapitaCommercial Trust , Suntec REIT, Mapletree Commercial Trust and K-REIT Asia.

Units of the four trusts have each gained 21-35 percent so far this year, outperforming the 13 percent rise in the benchmark Straits Times Index.

1656 (0856 GMT)

(Reporting by Eveline Danubrata in Singapore; eveline.danubratathomsonreuters.com)

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13:40 STOCKS NEWS SINGAPORE-Index rises to 2-1/2 month high

Singapore shares rose to their highest in 2-1/2 months, crossing the 3,000-point level for the first time since early May, with beverage, property and publishing conglomerate Fraser & Neave Ltd among the biggest gainers.

The Straits Times Index advanced as much as 0.3 percent to 3,004.34, the highest since May 3. MSCI's broadest index of Asia-Pacific shares outside Japan was also up 0.3 percent.

DBS Vickers said the euro zone crisis could get worse before it gets better, while the United States' economy is slowing down. It also noted that Singapore's second-quarter gross domestic product advanced estimates were below forecast.

"With expectations of more downgrades in the upcoming 2Q (second quarter) reporting season, this could derail earnings growth for 2013," DBS Vickers said.

It said banks and airlines could see upside, while cuts in earnings could come from property, technology, gaming, supply managers, offshore and marine as well as shipping.

Fraser & Neave shares rose as much as 1.7 percent to S$7.92 and have increased nearly 28 percent so far this year, versus the 13 percent gain on the STI.

1330 (0530 GMT)

(Reporting by Eveline Danubrata in Singapore; eveline.danubratathomsonreuters.com)

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12:51 STOCKS NEWS SINGAPORE-Citi sees more Q2 earnings miss

Citigroup said it expects results of more Singapore companies, such as Singapore Airlines Ltd, Singapore Telecommunications Ltd and palm oil giant Wilmar International Ltd, to miss rather than beat expectations for the second quarter.

Singapore's economy contracted 1.1 percent in the second quarter on a seasonally adjusted and annualised basis, the government said last Friday, confirming economic activity is declining after a robust start to the year.

Among the expected misses, Citi said SIA was struggling with weak passenger yields, especially in its long-haul segment, while SingTel may be dragged by foreign exchange losses at its Indian affiliate Bharti Airtel.

Wilmar was under pressure from weak oilseeds margin trends, while Olam International Ltd's reduced cotton sourcing volumes are likely to weigh on profit contribution from its industrial segment, Citi said.

Companies expected to beat forecast include rig and property conglomerate Keppel Corp Ltd on stronger property contribution and Yangzijiang Shipbuilding (Holdings) Ltd on higher revenue and margins.

Weaker rupiah, volume growth and downstream exposure may help cushion impact of higher labour and fertiliser costs for palm oil firm Golden Agri-Resources Ltd, Citi said.

1249 (0449 GMT)

(Reporting by Eveline Danubrata in Singapore; eveline.danubratathomsonreuters.com)

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11:38 STOCKS NEWS SINGAPORE-AsiaMedic jumps on Myanmar plan

Shares of AsiaMedic Ltd jumped as much as 16 percent, extending gains from the previous week, on traders' interest in the Singapore healthcare firm's plan to expand in Myanmar.

On Monday, AsiaMedic shares were up 8.1 percent at S$0.093 on volume of 14.3 million shares, 4.4 times the average full-day volume traded over the past 30 days. The stock had more than doubled last week.

The company said last week it had been engaging in discussions with prospective business partners to expand its business in Singapore and Myanmar.

Separately, AsiaMedic also announced that it had signed agreements to set up a post-natal confinement centre and a medical centre in Shanghai, China.

1129 (0329 GMT)

(Reporting by Eveline Danubrata in Singapore; eveline.danubratathomsonreuters.com)

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10:38 STOCKS NEWS SINGAPORE-CIMB raises target on SPH

CIMB Research raised its target price on Singapore Press Holdings Ltd to S$4.40 from S$4.19 to factor in stronger property earnings, valuations and lower capital expenditure, and maintained its outperform rating.

Shares of the media and property company fell 0.5 percent to S$4.00 on Monday. They have gained more than 8 percent so far this year.

SPH reported a 13 percent fall in third-quarter net profit from a year earlier mainly due to a drop in investment income. But CIMB said the company's underlying performance was "fairly intact", with recurring profit from media and property up 2.2 percent year-on-year.

SPH's property business delivered a 13 percent rise in rental income from a year earlier, mainly due to a fully operational Clementi Mall, while its Paragon mall posted stronger rental reversions, CIMB said.

With recurring profit as the key determinant for dividends, SPH is expected to repeat dividend per share of 24 Singapore cents for the full year, CIMB said, adding that the company's balance sheet is still strong.

1024 (0224 GMT)

(Reporting by Eveline Danubrata in Singapore; eveline.danubratathomsonreuters.com)

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10:03 STOCKS NEWS SINGAPORE-OCBC starts hospitality REITs with overweight

OCBC Investment Research initiated coverage of Singapore's hospitality real estate investment trust sector with an 'overweight' rating, and said it preferred CDL Hospitality Trusts to Ascott Residence Trust.

CDL units were up 0.8 percent at S$1.94 on Monday and have risen nearly 25 percent so far this year. Ascott units were flat at S$1.185 and have gained nearly 23 percent since the start of the year.

Singapore's buoyant hotel industry has been the key driver for CDL, whose six hotels in the city-state accounted for 77 percent of its 2011 fiscal year gross revenue, OCBC said. It has a 'buy' rating and a S$2.04 target price on CDL.

OCBC estimated that for 2012-2015, the demand for hotel rooms in Singapore will grow at 6.4 percent per annum, outstripping the hotel rooms supply growth projected at 3.7 percent per annum over the same period.

It said CDL has stronger potential growth profile and a gearing of 25.6 percent, lower than Ascott's 39.2 percent. OCBC expects CDL to make an acquisition within the next one year, either in Singapore or potentially higher-yielding markets abroad.

For Ascott, OCBC said despite the economic problems in Europe, income from the trust's assets in the region is "reasonably resilient", underpinned by its master leases and management contracts.

OCBC has a 'buy' recommendation and S$1.23 target price on Ascott.

0954 (0154 GMT) (Reporting by Eveline Danubrata in Singapore; eveline.danubratathomsonreuters.com)

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