Singapore shares scaled new a five-year high, with Thai Beverage jumping to a record after an upbeat report on opportunities in Myanmar for the company.
The Straits Times Index gained 0.4 percent to 3,458.5 in a broad-based rally. The index is up nearly 9 percent so far this year, but has underperformed most Southeast Asian markets.
DBS Vickers said there was little room for upside on earnings potential in Singapore. "The hunt for yield, defensive and stable names should continue as global growth remains weak, central banks stay accommodative and inflation is still tame."
Thai Beverage was the biggest gainer and rose as much as 5.2 percent to a record S$0.71. Highlighting Myanmar's strong potential in the beer market, Standard Chartered issued a bullish report and said Thai Beverage was an "excellent proxy" for the opportunities in Myanmar.
"The country's extended isolation has led to a shortage of basic consumer items - and a thirst for beer. Myanmar could generate 47 percent of Thai Beverage's beer volume growth in 2013 to 2017," it said.
"Thai Bev has a 29 percent stake in F&N, which controls Myanmar Brewery. We think Thai Bev is likely to acquire F&N's F&B business in a restructuring."
Thai billionaire Charoen Sirivadhanabhakdi, through Thai Beverage and TCC Assets Ltd, is F&N's biggest shareholder.
1255 (0355 GMT)
(Reporting by Joyce Lim; Editing by Anupama Dwivedi)
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11:00 STOCKS NEWS SINGAPORE-Singapore banks' rally running out of steam - Macquarie
Singapore banks' shares may be near the end of their rally as their first-quarter results represent a short-term top and business activity is expected to cool off in the coming quarters, said Macquarie Equities Research.
"We believe the rally in Singapore bank stocks is looking tired and we would look to pare down holdings at current levels," Macquarie said in a report.
"We believe that upcoming quarters may look weaker for all, given slowing business activity (we assume) lack of major investment banking deals vs 1Q13," Macquarie said, adding that the sector as whole is trading close to fair value, and lacks operational catalysts to the upside.
It downgraded DBS Group Holdings Ltd and UOB Ltd to "neutral" from "outperform", and cut its rating on Oversea-Chinese Banking Corp Ltd to "underperform" from "neutral".
Banking shares have outperformed so far this year, with DBS rising 17 percent, OCBC up 15 percent and UOB gaining 11 percent. Singapore's benchmark Straits Times Index has gained 9 percent. Singapore's leading banks beat market forecasts with their earnings.