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Singapore Stocks: Neptune Orient Lines, SingTel, Yangzijiang

Singapore’s Straits Times Index rose 0.3 percent to 2,701.72 at the close, paring gains of as much as 1 percent. About the same number of stocks increased and fell in gauge of 30 companies.

The following were among the most active shares in the market. Stock symbols are in parentheses after the company names.

Export-related stocks: Shares of exporters, shipping companies and port operators advanced after a report showed confidence among U.S. consumers rose more than forecast in December to a six-month high, boosting the outlook for Asian exporters.

Hi-P International Ltd. (HIP SP), an electronics manufacturer whose clients include BlackBerry-maker Research in Motion Ltd., gained 0.8 percent to 64.5 Singapore cents. Neptune Orient Lines Ltd. (NOL SP), Southeast Asia’s biggest container line rose, added 1.3 percent to S$1.14. Hutchison Port Holdings Trust (HPHT SP), the owner of port assets in Hong Kong and China, rose 0.8 percent to 62.5 U.S. cents.

Singapore Telecommunications Ltd. (ST SP), Southeast Asia’s biggest phone company, climbed 2.6 percent to S$3.21, the highest close since Nov. 15. SingTel is attractive as it offers a hefty dividend yield, Carey Wong, an analyst at OCBC Investment Research, said in an interview. Investors are buying high-yield stocks as a defensive strategy on concern market volatility will continue next year as Europe struggles to contain its sovereign-debt crisis, he said.

Yangzijiang Shipbuilding Holdings Ltd. (YZJ SP), China’s third-largest shipyard outside state control, gained 1.1 percent to 93.5 Singapore cents. The company said it and Qatar Investment Corp. agreed to set up a joint venture, which will help strengthen Yangzijiang’s efforts to build offshore platforms and related vessels.

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