Singapore shares ended 0.4 percent higher, outperforming other regional bourses due to gains in casino operator Genting Singapore PLC after the government licensed two casino junket operators.

The benchmark Straits Times Index closed up 0.36 percent at 2,990.08, bucking the trend in other Asian markets.

The MSCI Asia Pacific ex-Japan was 0.08 percent down, hurt by worries over a slowdown in the global economy.

"Across the region, Asian equities are still suffering the fallout from yesterday's disappointing factory output data from China and Europe," said IG Markets in a note.

Genting Singapore's shares rose 6.8 percent to S$1.74 with 356 million shares changing hands, nearly 10 times its average daily volume over the last five sessions.

1758 (0959 GMT)

(Reporting by Charmian Kok in Singapore)

Reuters messaging rm://charmian.kok.thomsonreuters.com@reuters.net

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14:26 STOCKS NEWS ASEAN-Kim Eng bullish on Singapore's Starhill Global

Maybank Kim Eng is recommending Singapore's Starhill Global REIT, saying it is a prime retail play trading at a sharp discount to its book value.

The brokerage kept its buy rating and price target for the company, whose key assets are in the prime Orchard Road area, unchanged at S$0.80. The REIT's units were flat at S$0.63.

Following last year's influx of international retailers such as Abercrombie & Fitch and Michael Kors into Singapore's main shopping belt, Kim Eng expects demand for prime retail space to increase as more foreign retailers enter the market.

"We expect Starhill to benefit from the scarcity of new prime retail space, asset enhancement initiative at Wisma Atria and healthy retail sales growth in Singapore," it said.

"Considering its prime assets in Singapore, Kuala Lumpur and Perth, as well as a healthy balance sheet, Starhill's steep 30 percent discount to its net asset value does not seem justified to us. Moreover, its distribution per unit yield of 6.7 percent is also the highest among its peers."

1415 (0615 GMT)

(Reporting by Mark Tay in Singapore)

Reuters messaging rm://mark.tay.thomsonreuters.com@reuters.net

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14:13 STOCKS NEWS ASEAN-Citi cuts Hyflux earnings, sees slow orders

Citigroup downgraded its 2012 estimates on Singapore water treatment firm Hyflux Ltd by 32 percent, citing slow order book wins in the second half of last year.

It cut its target price to S$1.86 from S$2.15. Shares in Hyflux were up 1.3 percent to S$1.50.

Citi said it still likes the long-term nature of Hyflux's environmental business, and its recent project win in India will benefit the company.

Hyflux said on Thursday its unit and its Japanese partners, Hitachi Ltd and Itochu Corp, had agreed to develop Asia's largest seawater desalination plant in Gujarat, India. The total cost of the project is estimated to be around $600 million, Hyflux said.

Citi estimates the Indian project will raise Hyflux's order book by about 12 percent to S$2.4 billion.

Seven out of 11 analysts have cut their earnings per share estimates on Hyflux over the past month, with average revisions of 7.2 percent for this year.

For a related story, click: r.reuters.com/meh37s

1350 (0550 GMT)

(Reporting by Charmian Kok in Singapore)

Reuters messaging rm://charmian.kok.thomsonreuters.com@reuters.net

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13:27 STOCKS NEWS ASEAN-Singapore REITS could see more fund raising-CIMB

CIMB Research said reports of initial public offerings in Singapore and a recent capital-raising exercise by Cache Logistics Trust point to an opportunity for equity fund raising for Singapore real estate investment trusts (REITs).

Cache's S$57 million ($45 million) placement, priced at the top end of the pricing range, and news of IPOs such as M&L REIT point to improved sentiment, spurring questions about whether others will follow suit, CIMB said.

It said candidates looking to catch the wave should have traits such as recent share price appreciation, a price-to-book value of near or above one time, assets for acquisition and the need for equity fund-raising for acquisition.

"We believe that such equity fund raising could offer a cheaper entry for investors looking to partake in these REITs," CIMB said. Its top picks are CDL Hospitality Trusts and CapitaCommercial Trust for portfolio upside and strong balance sheets.

1315 (0515 GMT)

(Reporting by Eveline Danubrata in Singapore)

Reuters messaging rm://eveline.danubrata.thomsonreuters.com@reuters.net

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12:07 STOCKS NEWS ASEAN-CIMB ups Genting Hong Kong target to S$0.54

CIMB Research has raised its target price for Genting Hong Kong Ltd to $0.54 from $0.52 and kept its outperform rating, citing strong revenue growth at its cruise ship business.

The broker raised its 2012-2014 earnings per share estimate for Genting Hong Kong, which is listed in both the Chinese territory and Singapore, by 7-19 percent to account for the higher share of profits from its jointly controlled entities.

"We believe Genting Hong Kong is still undervalued, particularly as it shows promising growth prospects on all fronts," said CIMB in a report.

The Star Cruises business, for example, is expected to remain resilient over the next few quarters, as it captures growing regional demand for casino gaming.

By 0331 GMT, shares of Genting Hong Kong were 1.3 percent higher at $0.39. They have surged 47 percent since the start of the year.

1132 (0332 GMT)

(Reporting by Charmian Kok in Singapore)

Reuters messaging rm://charmian.kok.thomsonreuters.com@reuters.net

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08:48 STOCKS NEWS ASEAN-Singapore's index futures rise 0.15 pct

Singapore MSCI March futures gained 0.15 percent on Friday, indicating the benchmark Straits Times Index could edge higher despite bad news on the global front.

Oil prices plunged nearly $2 per barrel and global stocks fell for a third consecutive session on Thursday, as shrinking manufacturing in China and in the two largest economies of the euro zone fueled worries about global growth.

Tokyo's Nikkei share average was down 1.1 percent early on Friday and MSCI's broadest index of Asia Pacific shares outside Japan lost 0.2 percent. Stocks in resource-dependent Australia fell 0.5 percent.

0841 (0041 GMT)

(Reporting by Eveline Danubrata in Singapore)

Reuters messaging rm://eveline.danubrata.thomsonreuters.com@reuters.net ($1 = 1.2663 Singapore dollars)