SingTel, HPH Trust, Golden Agri lead falls in Singapore shares on Monday

REUTERS - Singapore shares fell on Monday, weighed by Southeast Asia's biggest telecom firm Singapore Telecommunications and port operator Hutchison Port Holdings Trust as both stocks went ex-dividend.

The Straits Times Index was down 0.6 per cent at 3,234.20 points, while the MSCI Asia-Pacific ex-Japan index was flat.

SingTel shares declined as much as 3.3 per cent, while Hutchison eased as much as 3.9 per cent.

Shares in Golden Agri-Resources fell as much as 2.9 per cent to $0.51, the lowest since July 2010, after the company posted a 58 per cent fall in second-quarter net profit.

It was the second-highest traded stock by value in Singapore.

OCBC Investment Research sees a muted outlook for crude palm oil prices as global demand, especially out of China and India, remains weak and supply is expected to increase in the second half of the year.

OCBC slashed its core earnings estimate for Golden Agri's 2013 fiscal year by 19 per cent to account for increased margin pressure. It downgraded the stock to "sell" from "hold" and cut its target price to $0.465 from $0.57.