Singapore shares rise more than 1% by midday, led by telco and consumer stocks

REUTERS - Singapore shares firmed after a two-day losing streak, in tandem with regional stock markets, underpinned by strength in telecommunication and consumer goods plays including Thai Beverage and Singapore Telecommunications.

The benchmark Straits Times Index rose more than 1 per cent to 3,048.12, ahead of the 0.7 per cent gain in MSCI's broadest index of Asia-Pacific shares outside Japan . On the year-to-date chart, however, Singapore shares were down 3.8 per cent, lagging behind the regional market's 3.3 per cent gain.

The telecommunication sector index rose more than 2 per cent, followed by a 1.9 per cent gain in consumer goods stocks. ThaiBev led the index with a 5.4 per cent gain.

In other stocks, offshore support vessel builder Vard Holdings climbed 2.9 per cent to $0.885, as brokerage Maybank Kim Eng upgraded its call on the stock to "buy" and raised the target price to $1.12 from $0.95.

"Vard's 2013 order wins have reached our initial expectations and we believe that further order wins would set the stage for a positive re-rating," said Maybank analyst Yeak Chee Keong in a note.