Golden Agri soars on positive earnings, Singapore market jittery

SINGAPORE (Reuters) - Golden Agri-Resources outperformed a jittery Singapore stock market on Monday, heading for its biggest daily gain in six months after well-received earnings.

Shares of the palm oil plantation firm jumped 5.4 per cent to their three-month high of $0.59, with 98.5 million shares changing hands as of midday, more than three times the 30-day average daily volume.

Golden Agri reported a 129 per cent surge in fourth-quarter net profit on Friday, helped by a better sales performance in China.

OCBC Investment Research maintained its "hold" rating on Golden Agri, increasing its fair value to $0.52 from $0.50 and its 2014 revenue estimate by 2-3 per cent.

"Going forward, management remains largely positive about its prospects," OCBC said in a research note.

The benchmark Straits Times Index opened the week with a lull, declining nearly 0.8 per cent to 3,085.8 as of midday, in line with other Asian markets, as escalating tensions between Russia and the West caused jitters. MSCI's broadest index of Asia-Pacific shares outside Japan fell 0.8 per cent.

Figures showing Chinese manufacturing activity fell in February added to the gloomy sentiment. The final Markit/HSBC manufacturing Purchasing Managers' Index (PMI) fell to a seven-month low of 48.5 in February, reinforcing concerns of a slowdown in the world's second largest economy.

Noble Group and Olam International were the worst performers, down 3.8 per cent and 2.8 per cent, respectively. Shares of Olam International were headed for their biggest daily decline in more than five weeks.