Jul 16, 2014

    Lacklustre trading over property concerns

    SINGAPORE shares continued to drift sideways amid slightly improved turnover, weighed down by concerns over escalating Russia-Ukraine tensions and lacklustre local property sales.

    The benchmark Straits Times Index edged up 0.44 point to 3,291.42 yesterday, with 1.39 billion shares worth $833.1 million changing hands.

    Transaction data from Singapore Real Estate Exchange (SRX) showed that prices of private condos fell 1.4 per cent last month from May - their lowest level since December 2012 - dragged down by declines across all regions. But the number of resale transactions increased by 7.9 per cent month-on-month to 452 last month. Still, this is 23.8 per cent lower than the number of resale transactions inked in June last year.

    Penny stocks continued to dominate the list of top-five volume stocks. Component manufacturer Amplefield rose 12.5 per cent or 0.1 cent to 0.9 cent, with 40.8 million shares changing hands. Otto Marine jumped 4.2 per cent or 0.3 cent to 7.4 cents with 43.4 million shares changing hands, while Artivision Tech jumped 5 per cent or 0.6 cent to 12.5 cents, with 40.3 million shares changing hands.

    Biosensors International fell 7.5 per cent or 7 cents to 86.5 cents, after it announced that a substantial shareholder, CB Medical Holdings, had sold 39.5 million shares in the heart-stent maker's capital. Some 35.8 million Biosensors shares worth $31.3 million changed hands yesterday.

    Following completion of the disposal, CB Medical will have a direct interest in 330.5 million shares, representing 19.46 per cent of Biosensors' issued share capital.

    Meanwhile, shares of ITE Electric maintained its upward trajectory yesterday, up nearly 21 per cent, or 1.5 cents, to 8.8 cents. Some 10.9 million shares changed hands. The counter surged after chief executive Ho Cheng Leong, who was asked by the Commercial Affairs Department to assist with its investigation into the penny stock scandal, agreed to sell his stake in the firm.

    On Friday, the electrical installation materials wholesaler announced that Mr Ho, through an investment holding firm, Rosemoor Development, had entered into a conditional sale-of-shares agreement to dispose of 22.8 million shares, or 16.58 per cent of ITE, at six cents a share, to Mr Aw Cheok Huat, chairman of ICP, a Catalist-listed company whose activities include investment holding, shipping and mining.

    "There's no shortage of speculation on this counter. ICP is a company in an unrelated business to ITE, plus the price went up by at least 40 per cent in the past two days," remisier Alvin Yong said.