Singapore index hits more than one-month high

Reuters

SINGAPORE - Singapore shares inched up to a more than one-month high on Tuesday, in line with other regional markets following a rally in Wall Street amid optimism about merger activity.

The upbeat mood among investors in the United States and Europe offset concerns about China markets after talks of credit tightening on Monday.

The benchmark Straits Times index was up 0.2 per cent at 3,110.13 by 0313 GMT, on track for its third day of gains. Trading volume was low at 0.3 times the average 30-day full-day volume. The MSCI's broadest index of Asia-Pacific shares outside Japan was up 0.4 per cent.

Commodity companies topped the index, with Wilmar International Ltd and Noble Group Ltd as the best two performers.

Shares of Wilmar rose as much as 1.8 per cent to S$3.46, their highest since Dec. 10, 2013, while Noble rose as much as 1.5 per cent to S$1.01, heading for its second day of gains.

Wilmar, the world's top palm oil processor with business interests in sugar, lauric oils and other commodities, was the third most traded stock by value.

Among other stocks, shares of Chinese shipbuilder COSCO Corporation (Singapore) Ltd plunged as much as 3.7 per cent to S$0.68, their lowest since Sept. 4, 2013 after the company reported a 71 per cent fall in 2013 full-year net profit at S$30.6 million (US$24.19 million).

The stock was trading at almost 1.6 times its average 30-day full-day volume.

Maybank Kim Eng said COSCO faces dim prospects with its management flagging sustained margin pressures and operating challenges ahead. "Cosco's negative view on the shipbuilding sector concurs with our cautious stance on a recovery for Chinese shipbuilders," the brokerage said in a research note.

Maybank maintained its "sell" rating and target price of S$0.65 on the stock.

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