DBS shares fall after results; Singapore index eases

SINGAPORE (Reuters) - DBS shares headed south for the first time in seven sessions on Friday, after the bank reported weaker-than-expected quarterly results, while Singapore's benchmark index edged lower despite Asia's resilience against disappointing United States data.

DBS Group Holdings, Singapore's top lender, said net profit for the three months ended December rose 6 per cent to $802 million excluding exceptionals, lower than the $843 million average forecast of six analysts polled by Reuters.

DBS shares eased 0.7 per cent to $16.41 in light trading, with 1.2 million shares changing hands, just over a third of its 90-day average daily turnover.

The benchmark Straits Times Index was down 0.1 per cent at 3,037.8 as of midday. MSCI's broadest index of Asia-Pacific shares outside Japan rose 0.7 per cent.

US retail sales fell unexpectedly in January, while separate data showed more claims for jobless benefits last week, against a backdrop of unusually bad weather.

Despite the day's losses, the Singapore index was headed for its highest weekly gain in seven weeks, at 0.8 per cent.

Oversea-Chinese Banking Corp shares edged up 0.2 per cent to $9.35, after Singapore's second-largest lender posted better-than-expected results.

Top index performer CapitaMalls Asia rose 2.6 per cent to a 2-1/2 week high of $1.79.

The shopping mall developer posted a 17.1 per cent rise in profit after tax and minority interest (PATMI) to $216.4 million.

Brokerage Maybank Kim Eng said in a report that Malaysian and Chinese malls continue to enjoy healthy tenants' sales growth. Two of its malls in China are set to open in 2014 and will underpin earnings growth for the financial year 2015.

Maybank maintained its "buy" rating and target price of $2.60 on the stock.

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