Singapore shares closed a shade lower as oil prices fell on concerns that rising United States crude stockpiles could offset cuts by the Organisation of the Petroleum Exporting Countries (Opec).
The Straits Times Index fell 0.17 per cent or 5.11 points to 3,066.53, dragged down by Sats, which shed 1.6 per cent or eight cents to $5.07; Keppel Corp, which dipped 1.3 per cent or eight cents to $6.20; and ST Engineering, which lost 1.2 per cent or four cents to $3.33.
Ezra Holdings' woes continued to dog the oil and gas sector, with the counter sinking another 10 per cent or 0.3 cent to 2.7 cents on 153.5 million shares done.
Elsewhere in the sector, Ezion Holdings fell 2.6 per cent or one cent to 37 cents, KrisEnergy slid 0.5 per cent or 0.1 cent to 19.1 cents, while Sembcorp Marine dipped 0.3 per cent or 0.5 cent to $1.47.
Engineering firm IEV Holdings sank 7.5 per cent or 0.5 cent to 6.2 cents after warning it expects to record a net loss for the full year 2016 due to impairment loses on assets and operational losses in some units amid a challenging market.
International Healthway Corp (IHC) was the most hotly traded stock after Indonesia's Riady family mounted a cash offer, through Lippo Group, to lift its stake in Healthway Medical. IHC surged 41.8 per cent or 2.8 cents to 9.5 cents on 401.4 million shares done.
Trading in Healthway Medical was halted yesterday after a substantial shareholder made a takeover bid for all shares of Healthway at 4.2 cents a share. This came on the heels of the Lippo Group buying a 12.54 per cent stake in IHC through its OUE unit two weeks ago. "The market is wondering if OUE will fight Oxley boss Ching Chiat Kwong for control of IHC," a trader said.
Shares of Mermaid Maritime, which investors believe could be ripe for privatisation, continued to soar. It jumped 12.2 per cent or 2.5 cents to 23 cents.
Singapore Airlines edged up 0.8 per cent or eight cents to $9.80, after posting mixed third-quarter results. OCBC Investment Research, which has a hold call on the flag carrier, said an improved performance at SIA cargo helped offset weakness in the passenger segment.
HLH Group was queried by the Singapore Exchange over an unusual share price movement after jumping 9.1 per cent or 0.1 cent to 1.2 cents on 70.1 million shares. It said it could not explain the activity.
Shares of interior design firm Serrano continued their ascent, rocketing 148 per cent to 7.2 cents, on 142.3 million shares done. It announced a placement of 3.8 billion new shares to a group of investors at 0.2 cent a share, and will call an extraordinary general meeting to get approval.
Other hotly traded pennies include Artivision Tech, which surged 29.2 per cent or 0.7 cent to 3.1 cents, on trade of 241.6 million shares. Cacola Furniture International jumped 25 per cent or 0.1 cent to 0.5 cent with 161.9 million shares traded.