STOCKS NEWS SINGAPORE-Index at 2-year high, Keppel Corp gains

Fri Jan 25, 2013 7:25am GMT

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Singapore's benchmark index hit a two-year high after rising for the third straight day, with oil rig builder Keppel Corp and commodity trader Olam figuring among the gainers.

The Straits Times index rose 0.4 percent to 3,260.8 points and was set to end the week 1.5 percent higher. Asian shares were weaker on Friday, with MSCI's broadest index of Asia-Pacific shares outside Japan down 0.4 percent.

Shares in Keppel advanced 1 percent to a three-month high of S$11.44 after it proposed a higher-than-expected dividend and reported quarterly results in line with estimates.

Olam shares rose 1.9 percent after the company raised S$712.5 million through a bond issue with warrants. This followed an attack by short-seller Muddy Waters on Olam's accounting practices, high debt levels and investment projects, sending its bond and stock prices tumbling in November. 1510 (0710 GMT) (Reporting by Teo Jion Chun in Singapore; Reuters Messaging: teo.jionchun.thomsonreuters.com@reuters.net)

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12:01 STOCKS NEWS SINGAPORE-Keppel shares at 3-mth high after results

Shares in Keppel Corp Ltd rose 1 percent to a three-month high of S$11.44 after the world's largest oil rig builder proposed a higher-than-expected dividend and reported quarterly results in line with estimates.

The stock has gained nearly 15 percent from a low in mid-November, outperforming the Straits Times Index.

Maybank Kim Eng kept its 'buy' rating and target price of S$12.8, citing strong offshore and marine outlook for 2013.

Keppel's fourth-quarter net profit fell 22 percent, but full-year profit jumped 28 percent on a 39 percent jump in revenue.

Keppel proposed a record total dividend of 72.4 Singapore cents per share, up from 43 Singapore cents a year earlier.

Maybank said despite conservative management guidance, it expects productivity and efficiency gains to contribute to a higher operating margin of 14.2 percent for Keppel's offshore and marine (O&M) business this year. The O&M unit is set to deliver a record 22 new units this year.

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