Singapore shares rise for a third day; ValueMax tops trading

SINGAPORE (Reuters) - Singapore shares rose for a third consecutive day on Wednesday, with pawnbroker ValueMax Group jumping as much as 18 per cent above its initial public offering price in its trading debut.

ValueMax shares rose as much as $0.60 versus its IPO price of $0.51, with nearly 161 million shares traded, signalling strong investor interest in alternative finance providers in the city-state. ValueMax was the most-traded stock by value and volume.

The benchmark Straits Times Index rose 0.2 per cent to 3,216.58 points, in line with the gain in MSCI's broadest index of Asia-Pacific shares outside Japan.

The top two performers on the index include palm oil producer Golden Agri-Resources and Singapore Telecommunications. Golden Agri shares climbed as much as 1.8 per cent, while SingTel advanced 1.6 per cent.

Shares in Neptune Orient Lines fell as much as 0.9 per cent, ahead of the shipping company's third-quarter results due on Wednesday.

Credit Suisse said it expects the company to report a loss of $64 million (S$79.3 million). The research house has an "underperform" rating on NOL's stock and a target price of $0.95.

"With closely watched peer Orient Overseas International Limited having released its 3Q13 trading data last Friday that displayed a 10 per cent dive in revenues, we fail to see how NOL will present a better result as rates and volumes feel the pressure of industry-wide overcapacity," Credit Suisse said.