Noble outperforms flat Singapore index, hits 2-year high

SINGAPORE (Reuters) - The Singapore index was little changed on Wednesday, with most stocks lacking clear direction, while Noble Group continued its winning streak to touch its highest level in two years.

The benchmark Straits Times Index was almost flat at 3,275.75. Regional markets performed better, with MSCI's broadest index of Asia-Pacific shares outside Japan rising 0.4 per cent, buoyed by U.S. markets.

Noble shares easily outperformed the Singapore market with a 3.7 per cent surge to $1.39, its highest since April 2012. The commodities firm was also the top traded stock on the bourse by value, with the number of shares changing hands close to 1.5 times its 30-day average.

Thomson Reuters data showed four out of 16 analysts with a"strong buy" rating on Noble, while seven recommended a "buy"and two a "hold".

Among other gainers, shares of Goodpack jumped as much as 5.5 per cent on news that private equity firm KKR & Co would buy out Goodpack and delist the company.

Shares of Goodpack reached a peak of $2.47, not far from KKR's offer price of $2.50 per share. The company resumed trading on Wednesday after being on a trading halt since Monday.

CIMB in a research note called the offer "not fantastic, but a fair deal", but downgraded the stock to "hold" from "add" due to limited upside to the offer price. It left the target price unchanged at $2.51.

OCBC in its research note recommended that shareholders accept the offer, while giving it a "buy" rating with a target price of $2.61.