Sembcorp Marine heads higher as Singapore shares rebound

SINGAPORE (Reuters) - Shares of Sembcorp Marine outperformed the market on Thursday after winning US$1.08 billion (S$1.37 billion) worth of contracts to build drillships for offshore drilling company Transocean, while the wider Singapore index also edged up despite Asia's sluggish start.

Shares of Sembcorp Marine rose as much as 2 per cent to an intra-day high of $4.11, putting it on track for its biggest daily gain in three weeks.

Brokerage Maybank Kim Eng maintained its "buy" rating on the stock with a target price of $5.04.

"We see the order wins as a very positive development for Sembcorp Marine," the brokerage said in a research note.

"Although there are execution risks as it ventures into building of drillships in Brazil, they also present opportunities for Sembcorp Marine to enter the drillship market." Shares of Sembcorp Industries jumped 1.1 per cent to an intra-day high of $5.50, their highest in more than seven weeks. Sembcorp Industries on Wednesday posted a 9.3 per cent increase in its fourth-quarter net profit.

The benchmark Straits Times index rose nearly 0.3 per cent to 3,096.7 as of midday on Thursday, despite other Asian stock markets putting in a sluggish performance amid escalating tensions in Ukraine. MSCI's broadest index of Asia-Pacific shares outside Japan wasalmost flat.

Golden Agri-Resources also outperformed the market, rising as much as 3.7 per cent to an intra-day high of $0.56. About 34.6 million shares changed hands as of midday, more than 1.1 times its average full-day 30-day trading volume.

Malaysian palm oil futures rose more than 3 per cent on Wednesday on concerns over dry weather hurting production in Southeast Asia.