Singapore market gains as banks, Genting Singapore advance

REUTERS - Singapore shares edged up, led by United Overseas Bank and Oversea-Chinese Banking Corp, while Genting Singapore rose as some brokers highlighted the casino operator's overseas expansion plans.

Shares in Genting Singapore advanced 1.5 per cent after the company's second-quarter core profit rose 5 per cent, though this came in below market forecasts. Volume in Genting shares rose to 22.5 million shares versus the average full-day volume of 20.9 million traded over the past five days.

"We believe the Japan opportunity, if and when materialized, could provide significant upside to the stock price," Citi analysts said. The research house reiterated its "buy" rating on the stock and said Genting shares had little downside risk at current valuations.

The broader stock market bucked a weak trend in Asia, with the benchmark Straits Times index up 0.3 per cent.

Singapore Telecommunications, which reports results next week, gained 1.3 per cent.

The outlook for Singapore company earnings remains bleak, with Singapore facing big downgrades in analysts' forecasts, data from Thomson Reuters StarMine shows.

Analysts have cut the forward 12-month earnings estimates on Singapore companies by 2.2 per cent on average over the past 30 days, the worst after Korea. On average, analysts have downgraded earnings estimates for Asia Pacific by 0.6 per cent.