Singapore shares were little changed, with the world's largest rigbuilder Keppel Corp Ltd outperforming the market on Thursday after winning contracts to build jackup rigs from a Mexican drilling company
The Straits Times Index was flat, while the MSCI index of Asia-Pacific shares outside Japan was down 0.6 percent.
Keppel Corp was one of the top performing stocks as well as the most actively traded stock by value in the Singapore market. Shares of Keppel Corp rebounded, gaining as much as 1 percent to S$11.33. About 4.5 million shares were traded, matching the average full-day volume traded over the past 30 days.
The four jackup rigs, worth $820 million in total, are scheduled for delivery in the second half of 2015.
DBS Vickers expects more orders to come from the Mexican market as PEMEX, the Mexican national oil company, has announced investment plans of $25.3 billion this year.
OCBC Investment Research sees Keppel as one of the beneficiaries of these developments, noting that the company has secured similar contracts worth $420 million last December.
OCBC kept its 'overweight' rating on the broader oil and gas sector, citing demand for deepwater and harsh-environment rigs and development of more global oil and gas field projects.
Its preferred picks are Sembcorp Marine Ltd, Ezion Holdings Ltd and Nam Cheong Ltd.
1200 (0400 GMT)
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Reporting by Teo Jion Chun; Editing by Anupama Dwivedi (firstname.lastname@example.org)(+6564035659)(Reuters Messaging: email@example.com)