Noble shares climb to 1-month high as supply cuts spur commodity surge

Shares of Singapore-listed Noble Group tracked raw material prices higher, extending the biggest advance in more than 9 weeks.
Shares of Singapore-listed Noble Group tracked raw material prices higher, extending the biggest advance in more than 9 weeks.PHOTO: REUTERS

SINGAPORE (BLOOMBERG) - Shares of Singapore-listed Noble Group tracked raw material prices higher, extending the biggest advance in more than 9 weeks, amid speculation commodities have bottomed.

The stock rose as much 13 per cent to 53 cents on Monday (Oct 12), and traded at 52.5 cents at 12:22 pm in Singapore, the highest level since Sept 9. About 116 million shares changed hands, 153 per cent more than the three-month average, according to data compiled by Bloomberg. Noble jumped 16 per cent on Friday, the most since Aug 4, as the commodities trader was said to be overhauling its metals unit.

Raw materials as measured by the Bloomberg Commodities Index advanced 3.6 per cent last week, the most since July 2012, fueling gains in related equities. While prices have slumped 23 per cent in the past year, bond trader Pacific Investment Management Co. said the worst of the collapse is probably over. Investors have shunned companies linked to commodities amid faltering demand in China, the biggest buyer of metals and energy.

"We're probably seeing some short-covering," said Bernard Aw, a strategist at IG Asia Pte in Singapore. "Noble has fallen quite a lot and would have found a bottom for the time being. It all depends on the outlook for commodities."

The Bloomberg Commodities Index climbed 0.7 per cent on Friday, led by a 10 per cent surge in zinc after Glencore Plc said it plans to cut production of the metal used to galvanize steel by about a third. The gauge rose 0.3 per cent on Monday.

Noble, the worst performer on the benchmark Straits Times Index, is still 54 per cent lower this year after Iceberg Research and short-seller Muddy Waters questioned its accounting policies. Short interest as a percentage of outstanding Noble shares climbed to record of 15.1 per cent on Thursday, according to Markit Group data tracked by Bloomberg.