Singapore shares hit near 1-year peak; SingPost surges to record

SINGAPORE (Reuters) - Singapore shares regained their footing on Thursday, with the benchmark index hitting its highest level in nearly a year, while Singapore Post struck its record high.

The benchmark Straits Times Index rose as much as 1 per cent to an intra-day high of 3,304.78, on course for its biggest daily gain in more than two weeks, as bulls started returning to the markets after a rash of dealmaking activity spurred investor appetite.

MSCI's broadest index of Asia-Pacific shares outside Japan was more muted with a 0.2 per cent gain.

"We've been seeing low turnover the last few days, but today's volume is more bullish because investors are seeing value from the deals that have been happening," said a Singapore-based dealer. "If the big boys are going in, the rest of the market will go along," he added.

In the latest deal, a unit of Chinese e-commerce giant Alibaba Group Holdings said it will buy a minority stake in Singapore Post for $312.5 million to help set up an international e-commerce logistics business. Shares of SingPost soared as much as 12.9 perent to their record high of $1.75.

CIMB maintained its "add" rating on the stock while raising the target price to $1.86, citing the possibility of more deals and growing e-commerce volumes as key catalysts for growth.

"SingPost's strategic partnership with Alibaba opens doors via access to funds for larger-scale M&As and the opportunity to leverage on Alibaba's customer base to scale up its regional e-commerce logistics operations," the brokerage said.

Olam International was among the other top performers, rising 2.7 per cent at $2.22 to hover near its two-year high. Commodities firm Golden-Agri Resources also saw strong gains, adding 3.5 per cent to hit a near two-week high of $0.59.