March 14, 2012 / 8:18 AM / 5 years ago

STOCKS NEWS ASEAN-UBS cuts Singapore's SMRT to sell on profitability

UBS downgraded Singapore's public transport operator SMRT Corp Ltd to sell from neutral, citing a squeeze on profitability and cut its target price to S$1.41 from S$1.70.

The government's push for higher spending on rail means structurally lower margins for SMRT, and with all of its revenue from Singapore, the company would find it harder to mitigate the tougher operating environment, UBS said.

It decreased its earnings per share estimates for SMRT in 2013 and 2014 by 12 and 11 percent respectively, citing weaker-than-expected ridership for its Circle Line.

UBS retained its neutral rating on Comfortelgro Corp Ltd , saying the firm would be supported by its overseas divisions.

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1600 (0800 GMT)

(Reporting by Charmian Kok in Singapore)

Reuters messaging rm://charmian.kok.thomsonreuters.com@reuters.net

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13:41 STOCKS NEWS ASEAN-Yamada Green up, UOB eyes earnings jump

Singapore-listed Chinese mushroom grower, Yamada Green Resources Ltd YAMR.SI, rose as much as 7.3 percent after UOB Kay Hian forecast its earnings to surge by 50 percent this year.

"Earnings growth momentum is likely to continue for the second half, particularly so as they have signed on new exclusive distributors for their mushrooms," the broker said.

Yamada shares rose 7.3 percent to S$0.22, with more than 3.4 million shares traded, nearly seven times the average full-day volume traded over the last five sessions.

UOB said the Chinese government's plans to allocate 1.2 trillion yuan ($190 billion) to develop the agricultural industry will also benefit the company.

For company results, click: r.reuters.com/qaz96s

1240 (0440 GMT)

(Reporting by Mark Tay in Singapore)

Reuters messaging mark.tay.thomsonreuters.com@reuters.net ($1 = 6.3270 Chinese yuan)

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12:12 STOCKS NEWS ASEAN-CIMB upgrades Singapore's UOB to outperform

CIMB Research raised its rating on Singapore's United Overseas Bank Ltd UOBH.SI to outperform from neutral, citing the stock's minor underperformance after fourth-quarter results.

The brokerage retained its target price of S$19.42. UOB shares rose 2.5 percent to S$18.46 after rising to the highest level since September, outperforming rivals.

"We see catalysts from a better first quarter when EU debt-related losses no longer impinge on P&L (profit and loss) and another quarter of margin expansion drives topline," CIMB said.

UOB is up 21 percent so far this year, while DBS Group Holdings DBSM.SI has risen 26 percent and Oversea-Chinese Banking Corp OCBC.SI advanced 15 percent.

Last month, UOB reported a 21 percent fall in quarterly profit due to lack of one-off gains.

1155 (0355 GMT)

(Reporting by Eveline Danubrata in Singapore)

Reuters messaging eveline.danubrata.thomsonreuters.com@reuters.net

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11:38 STOCKS NEWS ASEAN-SGX up on launch of trading hubs

Shares of Singapore Exchange Ltd (SGX) SGXL.SI rose as much as 3.2 percent after the bourse operator outlined moves to open trading hubs in Chicago and London.

"SGX's initiative is in the right direction in generating trading interest. Chicago and London are areas where they can reach out to more foreign investors," said Leng Seng Choon, co-head of research at DMG & Partners Securities.

SGX shares were up 3 percent at S$7.11, after hitting the highest intra-day level since March 6. SGX shares were among the top 10 traded stocks by value in a strong broader .FTSTI market.

SGX and Eurex are also teaming up to link certain facilities or data centres to provide participants connectivity to each other's markets in Singapore and Frankfurt/Main.

For related stories, click: r.reuters.com/zyx96s and

1125 (0325 GMT)

(Reporting by Eveline Danubrata in Singapore)

Reuters messaging eveline.danubrata.thomsonreuters.com@reuters.net

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10:59 STOCKS NEWS ASEAN-OCBC starts Fortune REIT with buy rating

OCBC Investment Research set a buy rating on Singapore-listed Fortune Real Estate Investment Trust FORT.SI with a target price of HK$4.88 ($0.63).

OCBC said the Hong Kong-focused REIT looked quite attractive as it had a price-to-book ratio of 0.5 times and 2012 fiscal year dividend yield at around 7.4 percent.

"We are positive on the HK retail sector given the continued growth of the economies of HK and mainland China. Rents will continue to climb to catch up with the rapid rise of retail property prices since 2009," OCBC said in a report.

Fortune REIT shares were up 0.25 percent at HK$4.0. The REIT has a portfolio of 16 retail malls and properties in Hong Kong.

1050 (0250 GMT)

(Reporting by Eveline Danubrata in Singapore)

Reuters messaging eveline.danubrata.thomsonreuters.com@reuters.net ($1 = 7.7593 Hong Kong dollars)

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10:38 STOCKS NEWS ASEAN-Kim Eng bullish on Singapore's Lian Beng

Maybank Kim Eng expects a higher valuation for Singapore property developer, Lian Beng LIBG.SI, due to the spin-off and listing of its subsidiaries in Taiwan.

"Buy now and be rewarded by the imminent Taiwan listing of Lian Beng's subsidiaries and potential special dividends of up to 1.6 cents per share," the broker said and maintained its price target of S$0.62.

Lian Beng shares rose 2.6 percent to S$0.40. Kim Eng estimates its fair valuation could rise to S$0.71 from S$0.62.

The broker expects Lian Beng to raise about S$29 million from the expected sale of a 30 percent stake in the subsidiaries.

1020 (0220 GMT)

(Reporting by Mark Tay in Singapore)

Reuters messaging mark.tay.thomsonreuters.com@reuters.net

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08:40 STOCKS NEWS ASEAN-Singapore index futures rise 0.9 pct

Singapore MSCI March futures SSGc1 gained 0.9 percent on Wednesday, indicating a higher start for the Straits Times Index .FTSTI.

Both Tokyo and Seoul shares rallied in early trade to fresh seven-month highs, tracking U.S. stocks which posted their best day of the year after a slightly stronger economic outlook from the Federal Reserve and upbeat retail sales data.

Japan's benchmark Nikkei .N225 rose 1.9 percent, while the Korea Composite Stock Price Index .KS11 advanced 1.2 percent.

0840 (0040 GMT)

(Reporting by Eveline Danubrata in Singapore)

Reuters messaging eveline.danubrata.thomsonreuters.com@reuters.net

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