Singapore shares ease; Noble at more-than-two-year high

SINGAPORE (Reuters) - Singapore shares eased in thin trade on Tuesday as investors shrugged off an uptick in manufacturing activity in the United States and China, while Noble raced ahead to a more-than-two-year high.

The benchmark Straits Times Index eased 0.2 per cent to 3,296.61, hovering near 1-year highs and lagging other Southeast Asian markets.

MSCI's broadest index of Asia-Pacific shares outside Japan performed better with a 0.3 per cent gain.

Noble Group shares rose as much as 3.2 per cent to hit their highest in more than two years, with the stock also topping the list of most traded stocks on the bourse by value. Shares of the commodities firm are currently trading at $2.50, their highest since February 2012.

Of 16 analysts polled by Reuters, four issued a "strong buy" rating on Noble and seven recommended a "buy" while two had a"hold". Three, however, gave it a 'sell' rating.

Among other stocks, shares of HanKore Environment Tech Group dipped 1.2 per cent after the company agreed to a reverse takeover by China Everbright International, in a deal aimed at creating one of the biggest waste water treatment firms in China.

HanKore was the second most traded stock on the bourse by value, with the number of shares changing hands more than twice its 30-day trading average.