Jul 15, 2014

    STI dips on Q2 report and World Cup ennui

    SINGAPORE stocks ended lower yesterday, after a report showed its economy turned in a weak second-quarter performance as manufacturing slumped, hurt by a tighter labour supply.

    The Straits Times Index was little changed at the end of a quiet session, dipping just 2.75 points to 3290.98 points. Trading volume remained paltry, with 1.14 billion shares worth $725.8 million changing hands.

    "Penny stocks are still in play, considering that many of the active stocks (yesterday) were penny stocks," broker Desmond Leong said.

    "Many traders are still out of office recovering from watching the (final) World Cup match in the early hours of (yesterday) morning."

    The most active stocks included Golden Agri-Resources, which shed 1.8 per cent or one cent to 54 cents, with 53.9 million shares changing hands. Tritech jumped 10.3 per cent or 2.5 cents to 26.5 cents, with 50.8 million shares changing hands. Adventus gained 4.9 per cent or 0.2 cent, to 4.3 cents.

    Shares of ITE Electric surged nearly 26 per cent or 1.5 cents to 7.3 cents, with 5.56 million shares changing hands. This comes after the company on Friday said chief executive Ho Cheng Leong is selling 22.8 million shares, or 16.58 per cent of ITE, at six cents a share, to Aw Cheok Huat, chairman of Catalist-listed ICP, an investment holding, shipping and mining firm.

    Mr Ho, along with ITE chief operating officer Ang Cheng Gian and non-executive, independent director Goh Hin Calm, have been asked by the Commercial Affairs Department to assist with its investigation into the penny stock scandal that wiped out $8 billion in share market value.

    Frasers Hospitality Trust made its debut on the Singapore Exchange at 90 cents a unit, up two cents or 2.3 per cent, compared to its initial public offer (IPO) at 88 cents a unit. The counter reached a high of 91 cents, before closing at 89.5 cents. A total of 38.3 million stapled securities were traded.

    OCBC Investment Research yesterday maintained a "hold" call on SPH Reit, which beat forecasts for its third-quarter results after maintaining full occupancy and lower operating expenses at its malls.

    SPH Reit, which owns the upscale Paragon mall in Orchard Road and The Clementi Mall, achieved a distribution per unit of 1.35 cents for the three months to May 31. This was 3.1 per cent higher than the IPO forecast.

    "Coupled with first-half distribution, nine-month fiscal 2014 DPU totalled 4.60 cents. This exceeded its prospectus forecast of 4.46 cents by 3.1 per cent, but came in largely within our expectations," OCBC said.