STOCKS NEWS SINGAPORE-Index falls, weighed by SingTel

Reuters

Singapore shares fell on Thursday, weighed by SingaporeTelecommunications Ltd, Southeast Asia's largesttelecom operator, after it posted an 8.3 percent fall inthird-quarter net profit.

The Straits Times Index was down 0.2 percent,underperforming MSCI's broadest index of Asia-Pacific sharesoutside Japan, which was 0.5 percent higher.

SingTel earned S$827 million ($668 million) in the threemonths ended in December, a drop from S$902 million a yearearlier as a strong Singapore dollar and one-off charges erodedits bottom line.

Shares of Thai Beverage Pcl rose as much as 1.9percent with more than 35 million shares traded, nearly matchingthe average full-day volume over the past 30 days.

Thai billionaire Charoen Sirivadhanabhakdi, who had offeredto take over Fraser and Neave Ltd, had further raisedhis stake in the Singapore property and drinks conglomerate.Charoen now has a total deemed shareholding of 79 percent inF&N, held through Thai Beverage and TCC Assets.

"Gaining control of F&N's brands and extensive distributionnetwork in Singapore, Malaysia, and Brunei could transform ThaiBev/TCC into a regional consumer name. The grouse that it was asingle-country, low-growth beer/spirits company is now no longervalid," CIMB Research said in a report.

CIMB raised its target price on Thai Beverage to S$0.70 fromS$0.60 and maintained its 'outperform' rating.

1323 (0523 GMT)

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