STOCKS NEWS SINGAPORE-Index falls, weighed by SingTel

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Y92.SI0.60-0.005

Singapore shares fell on Thursday, weighed by Singapore Telecommunications Ltd, Southeast Asia's largest telecom operator, after it posted an 8.3 percent fall in third-quarter net profit.

The Straits Times Index was down 0.2 percent, underperforming MSCI's broadest index of Asia-Pacific shares outside Japan, which was 0.5 percent higher.

SingTel earned S$827 million ($668 million) in the three months ended in December, a drop from S$902 million a year earlier as a strong Singapore dollar and one-off charges eroded its bottom line.

Shares of Thai Beverage Pcl rose as much as 1.9 percent with more than 35 million shares traded, nearly matching the average full-day volume over the past 30 days.

Thai billionaire Charoen Sirivadhanabhakdi, who had offered to take over Fraser and Neave Ltd, had further raised his stake in the Singapore property and drinks conglomerate. Charoen now has a total deemed shareholding of 79 percent in F&N, held through Thai Beverage and TCC Assets.

"Gaining control of F&N's brands and extensive distribution network in Singapore, Malaysia, and Brunei could transform Thai Bev/TCC into a regional consumer name. The grouse that it was a single-country, low-growth beer/spirits company is now no longer valid," CIMB Research said in a report.

CIMB raised its target price on Thai Beverage to S$0.70 from S$0.60 and maintained its 'outperform' rating.

1323 (0523 GMT)

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