Singapore shares retreated by midday, in line with other Asian bourses, as data showing rising inflation in China prompted some profit-taking after two consecutive sessions of gains.
The Straits Times Index lost 0.4 percent to 3,213.33, while MSCI's broadest index of Asia-Pacific shares outside Japan eased 0.2 percent. Golden Agri-Resources Ltd was the biggest loser on the STI, falling 3 percent to S$0.64.
China's annual consumer inflation rate accelerated to a seven-month high of 2.5 percent in December on rising food prices, narrowing the scope for the central bank to boost the economy by easing monetary policy.
Shares in Nam Cheong fell 7 percent to S$0.265 after the Malaysian offshore vessel builder said it planned to issue 190 million new shares at S$0.255 each, representing a 9.7 percent discount to the weighted average price on Jan. 10.
DMG & Partners raised its target price for Nam Cheong to S$0.33 from S$0.30 and kept its 'buy' rating, on expectations it will use the funds raised to expand its shipbuilding programme.
The brokerage also said the equity raising will reduce its 2013 estimated net gearing from 85 percent to 60 percent, increasing its ability to issue more debt if needed to support growth.
1341 (0541 GMT)
(Reporting by Charmian Kok in Singapore; Editing by Jijo Jacob; email@example.com; Reuters Messaging: firstname.lastname@example.org)
10:03 STOCKS NEWS SINGAPORE-Shipbuilding stocks gain on strong China trade
Shares of Yangzijiang Shipbuilding (Holdings) Ltd rose as much as 6.5 percent on hopes that improving Chinese trade data would translate into more orders in the longer term.
China said on Thursday its exports grew 14.1 percent in December from a year ago to hit a seven-month peak, handsomely beating market expectations of a 4 percent rise.
"Shipping related stocks are in play because of the good Chinese trade data. With better trade, shipping could improve, which could in turn benefit the shipbuilders," said a local trader.
Yangzijiang shares climbed 5.1 percent to S$1.135, while rival COSCO Corp (Singapore) Ltd was up 5.1 percent at S$1.035. Both were the third and fourth most actively traded stocks by value.
Container shipping firm Neptune Orient Lines Ltd gained 0.4 percent, extending Thursday's 7 percent gains. Hutchison Port Holdings Trust, which operates ports in China, rose 3 percent to S$0.845.
0950 (0150 GMT)
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