STI down 12 points, penny stocks dominate market again

Office workers walk past the SGX Centre, which houses the Singapore Exchange Ltd. headquarters, in Singapore. PHOTO: BLOOMBERG
Office workers walk past the SGX Centre, which houses the Singapore Exchange Ltd. headquarters, in Singapore. PHOTO: BLOOMBERG

SINGAPORE - The local market was again dominated by activities away from the big caps, as investors kept their eyes on penny plays while acting on excitement over a new listing and rumours of stake sale.

The highlight of the market yesterday was iX Biopharma, which debuted on the Catalist board with a strong start. After opening 7.6 per cent above its initial public offering price, the pharmaceutical company ended 6.5 cents or 21.74 per cent higher to close at 56 cents.

"iX Biopharma .. is a nice market story to pay attention to now, although the counter could have languished without the penny run," CMC Markets analyst Nicholas Teo said.

The latest pennies to ride the surge were engineering company Jasper Investments, which closed one cent or 166.67 per cent, and furniture maker Cacola Furniture International, which surged 1.5 cent or 115.39 per cent to 2.8 cents.

S-chips such as China Great Land, China Yong sheng and Hu An Cable also rose between 44 and 50 per cent yesterday. But previous favourites Edition lost 0.6 cent or 31.58 per cent to a 1.3 cent close, while CEFC International closed 4.5 cents or 15.25 per cent down at 25 cents, both having come off their rally Tuesday to reflect the volatile nature of penny stocks.

The benchmark Straits Times (STI) was much less vibrant compared to the lower end of the market, extending Tuesday's drop and closing 12.24 points or 0.36 per cent down at 3,359.17.

Among the bluechips, ComfortDelGro led the gainers, rising four cents or 1.32 per cent to close at S$3.08, and Hong Kong Land Holdings gained eight US cents or 1 per cent to US$8.07.

Singapore Press Holdings continued its rally since reporting 9.6 per cent year-on-year net profit rise for the quarter ended May 31. Yesterday it closed three cents or 0.71 per cent up at S$4.23, part of the 4.7 per cent gain that the counter has seen since July 10.

Singapore Airlines was the top losing blue chip, paring 37 cents or 3.16 per cent to close at S$11.33. The carrier's subsidiary Tigerair yesterday reported a net loss of S$1.7 million for the three months to June 30, as the aviation industry looks to remain challenging despite lower fuel costs.

CapitaLand Mall Trust also reported its results yesterday. For the quarter to June 30 its distribution per unit rose 0.7 per cent year-on-year to 2.71 cents. Investors however were not impressed, and the counter dropped four cents or 1.83 per cent to close at $2.14.