Singapore Index up; SingTel, Keppel strong

PHOTO: Singapore Index up; SingTel, Keppel strong

Singapore shares edged slightly up, with Singapore Telecommunications rising to its highest since January 2008 and Keppel Corporation hitting a one-month high.

The Straits Times Index edged up 0.1 per cent to an intra-day high of 3,458.04, its highest since January 2008, while the MSCI's broadest index of Asia-Pacific shares outside Japan gained 1 per cent.

Shares of Keppel Corporation Ltd, the world's biggest rig builder, rose to a one-month high of S$11.09 in relatively light trading. Only 2.6 million shares changed hands, 14 per cent below the five-day trading volume average.

Its crosstown rival Sembcorp Marine Ltd rose 0.9 per cent to S$4.47.

Despite facing increasing competition from Chinese peers, Singapore rig builders are expected to benefit from the strong demand from global offshore oil and gas industry, Barclays analysts said in a note.

"The recent flurry of activity in the Gulf of Mexico, as well as positive demand trends from the North Sea, bodes well for the order outlook for Singapore rig builders," they said, giving preference to Keppel Corp for its better margin outlook.

Among other stocks, SingTel rose as much as 1.5 per cent to S$4.08, its highest in nearly five-and-a-half years.

Nearly 8 million shares changed hands, making SingTel one of the most actively traded stock by value on Monday.

SingTel, Singapore's largest company by market capitalisation, posted a 33 per cent drop in fourth-quarter net profit, but said it will pay a final dividend of 10 cents a share, up from 9 cents a year ago.

The company's Australian unit, Optus, has announced plans to roll out Australia's first multi-band 4G network.