STOCKS NEWS SINGAPORE-Index slightly up, StarHub outperforms

Wed Nov 7, 2012 4:53am GMT

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Singapore shares were slightly higher, with telecommunication operator StarHub Ltd among the biggest gainers.

Investors are closely watching the United States presidential election, with television networks projecting that Barack Obama had been re-elected to a second term in the White House, beating Republican challenger Mitt Romney.

The Straits Times Index was up 0.4 percent at 3,027.19 points, while MSCI's broadest index of Asia-Pacific shares outside Japan was 0.3 percent higher.

StarHub shares rose as much as 1.4 percent to S$3.74, the highest in nearly a month. Nearly 1.9 million shares changed hands, 1.2 times the average full-day volume over the past 30 days.

DBS Vickers upgraded StarHub to 'buy' from 'hold' and raised its target price to S$4.00 from S$3.67.

DBS said StarHub received S$100 million ($81.7 million) of roll-out grant over the past two years, and the telco is likely to receive more grant of up to S$150 million linked to migration of consumers to 100 megabits per second (Mbps) connections.

With 10-year Singapore government bonds yielding only 1.3 percent, StarHub offers yield spreads of 4.6 percent, which is the highest among telcos in DBS' regional coverage. It added that StarHub has more room to raise dividends.

Shares of Sembcorp Marine Ltd extended their fall after the oil rig builder reported weaker-than-expected quarterly earnings, triggering broker downgrades and cuts in target prices.

Sembcorp Marine shares eased as much as 1.6 percent. Its parent Sembcorp Industries Ltd, which also has energy and water businesses, lost as much as 2.9 pecent.

1244 (0444 GMT)

(Reporting by Eveline Danubrata in Singapore; Editing by G.Ram Mohan; eveline.danubrata@thomsonreuters.com)

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10:51 STOCKS NEWS SINGAPORE-OCBC raises United Envirotech target price

OCBC Investment Research raised its target price on water treatment firm United Envirotech Ltd to S$0.67 from S$0.50 and kept its 'buy' rating, citing better-than-expected quarterly earnings.

By 0235 GMT, United Envirotech shares were up 1.4 percent at S$0.37, and have gained 13.8 percent since the start of the year, compared to a 1.5 percent rise in the FTSE ST China Index .

United Envirotech posted a second-quarter net profit that more than doubled to S$8.4 million from a year earlier, helped by strong engineering and treatment sales.

"United Envirotech continues to remain bullish on the waste-water treatment market in China, where demand for membrane-based services will continue to grow," said OCBC, adding that the upgrading of old water treatment plants also offered growth potential.

The brokerage noted that United Envirotech was on the lookout for more water projects in Shandong, Jiangsu and Liaoning to add to its portfolio and had a relatively strong financial position to do so. With a cash balance of S$470.1 million as of the end of September, OCBC expects United Engineer to be able to finance up to S$175 million of projects.

1035 (0235 GMT)

(Reporting by Charmian Kok in Singapore; Editing by Subhranshu Sahu; charmian.kok@thomsonreuters.com)

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9:38 STOCKS NEWS SINGAPORE-Ezion jumps after brokers raise target prices

Shares of Ezion Holdings Ltd jumped as much as 5.2 percent to a two-week high after several brokerages raised their target prices for the offshore services firm, following new contract wins secured by its joint venture.

By 0127 GMT, Ezion shares were up 3.8 percent at S$1.385, and have more than doubled since the start of the year.

OCBC Investment Research raised its target price for Ezion to S$1.70 from S$1.53 and kept its 'buy' rating, after increasing its 2013 and 2014 earnings estimates by 13.4 percent and 9.8 percent respectively to account for contract wins.

Ezion's joint venture with Kim Seng Holdings Pte Ltd secured contracts worth up to $298 million to provide two service rigs over seven years.

"The constant flow of contracts illustrates the demand for Ezion's expertise and assets, which we find very encouraging," said OCBC in a report.

CIMB Research also raised its target price for Ezion to S$1.68 from S$1.64 and kept its 'outperform' rating. Both brokerages said Ezion's third-quarter earnings were within expectations.

Ezion's net profit in July-September rose 24.4 percent to $16.1 million from a year earlier, helped by higher revenue from its chartering and logistic support vessels businesses.

0928 (0128 GMT)

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