Jul 23, 2015

    iX Biopharma off to good start amid penny party

    INVESTORS ignored the big caps yesterday and kept their eyes on penny plays and a new listing, which enjoyed a robust start to trading.

    The benchmark Straits Times Index was down 12.24 points or 0.36 per cent at 3,359.17, its second consecutive day of decline.

    Pharmaceutical company iX Biopharma provided a bright spark. It debuted on the Catalist board by opening 7.6 per cent above its initial public offer price of 46 cents, before closing 6.5 cents or 21.74 per cent higher at 56 cents.

    "iX Biopharma produces specialised drugs for male erectile dysfunction that will be marketed mainly to Australia. It's a nice market story to pay attention to now, although the counter could have languished without the penny run," CMC Markets analyst Nicholas Teo said.

    The latest pennies to ride the surge were engineering company Jasper Investments, which closed one cent or 166.67 per cent up at 1.6 cent, and furniture-maker Cacola Furniture International, which surged 1.5 cent or 115.39 per cent to 2.8 cents.

    S-chips such as China Great Land, China Yongsheng and Hu An Cable rose between 44 and 52 per cent, but previous favourites Edition lost 0.6 cent or 31.58 per cent to 1.3 cent, while CEFC International closed 4.5 cents or 15.25 per cent down at 25 cents.

    "The penny rally is a good thing to have, as it churns the market and brings velocity to trading, but a certain balance is still necessary. The Singapore Exchange is right to maintain some oversight on this to prevent another Blumont situation," Mr Teo noted, referring to the 2013 penny crash.

    Logistics firm CWT Limited rose two cents or 0.91 per cent to a record $2.22. Investors might be taking position on the counter following rumours that the company's controlling shareholders are considering a sale of their stakes, potentially to a Japanese buyer that looks to emulate Kintetsu's acquisition of APL Logistics this year, Mr Teo said.

    ComfortDelGro led the gainers among the blue chips, rising four cents or 1.32 per cent to $3.08.

    Singapore Press Holdings continued its rally since reporting a 9.6 per cent year-on-year net profit rise for the quarter ended May 31. It closed three cents or 0.71 per cent up at $4.23, part of the 4.7 per cent gain that the counter has seen since July 10.

    Singapore Airlines was the biggest loser among the blue chips, paring 37 cents or 3.16 per cent to $11.33. Its subsidiary, Tigerair, reported a first-quarter net loss of $1.7 million yesterday.

    CapitaLand Mall Trust also reported results yesterday. Distribution per unit rose 0.7 per cent year on year to 2.71 cents. Investors were not impressed, sending the counter down four cents or 1.83 per cent to $2.14.