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Singapore shares advance on Wall Street gains, China data

SINGAPORE (Nikkei Markets) -- Singapore shares advanced Thursday, helped by Wall Street gains overnight and better-than-expected manufacturing data from China. Yangzijiang Shipbuilding Holdings slumped after placing shares at a discount.

U.S. stocks rose Wednesday after the latest estimate showed that the world's largest economy grew 3% in the second-quarter. The expansion is the quickest in more than two years and faster than the previous estimate of 2.7%. A separate report revealed that the U.S. private sector added 237,000 jobs in August, more than economists predicted.

Thursday's advance in Singapore was also helped by the factory activity data out of China, Singapore's largest trading partner. China's official August manufacturing PMI came in at 51.7, up from 51.4 in the prior month and above analysts' expectations.

"The latest release of China's official manufacturing PMI is a pleasant surprise for markets in the region," said Jingyi Pan, a market strategist at Melbourne-based broker IG. "The data suggest that China factories are chugging along at a healthy speed."

Singapore's FTSE Straits Times Index advanced 0.4% to 3,277.26. For the month, however, the gauge fell 1.6%, ending a seven-month winning run.

Real estate-related stocks paced Friday's advance. CapitaLand climbed 1.6%, leading developers higher. Capitaland Mall Trust, up 1.9%, paced a rally in Real Estate Investment Trusts.

Yangzijiang Shipbuilding plunged 8% to S$1.495 as against Wednesday's close of S$1.625 after placing 137 million shares with J.P. Morgan (S.E.A.) at S$1.53 per share.

Among lenders, United Overseas Bank and Oversea-Chinese Banking Corp. rose by 0.9% or more, while DBS Group Holdings fell 0.2%. Data released by the city-state's central bank showed that bank lending in June dipped marginally by 0.5% month-on-month.

Energy, water and marine company Sembcorp Industries added 0.7%. It said on Thursday that its wholly owned unit Sembcorp Utilities had agreed to buy the shares it didn't own in Sembcorp Green Infra (SGI) in India for about S$301million ($221 million). Following the acquisition of the holding from IDFC Private Equity, Sembcorp will become the sole owner of SGI, it said in a filing.

Malaysia's financial markets are shut on Thursday and Friday for Independence Day and Eid al-Adha celebrations.

--Nimesh Vora and Kevin Lim

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