Keppel Land hits 5-week high on strong China sales

(REUTERS) - Keppel Land rose as much as 2.5 per cent to a five-week high after the property developer reported strong sales in China in the first half of the year even though its second-quarter results gave little upside surprise.

The company sold 1,940 residential units in China in the first half of the year, surpassing total sales in 2012, leading to a 79.3 per cent jump in profit contribution from overseas operations.

Net profit in the first half of the year fell 18.8 per cent to $192.1 million, in line with expectations.

"We reiterate KepLand as one of our top picks for its diversification particularly into China," said broker Maybank Kim Eng in a research note. "We believe KepLand will continue to deploy more capital in China, particularly to increase its portfolio of investment properties."

Maybank reiterated its "buy" call on the stock, with the target price pegged at S$4.80.

Keppel Land shares traded at S$3.63, after having touched an intra-day high of S$3.66.

Keppel Corporation, Keppel Land's controlling shareholder, is due to report results later in the day.

Singapore's benchmark Straits Times Index inched up 0.3 per cent to 3,219.13, snapping two days of straight losses after Federal Reserve Chairman Ben Bernanke's comments soothed anxiety over imminent withdrawal of the central bank's monetary stimulus.