Singapore shares were stuck in a rut yesterday with investors awaiting word on possible stimulus measures in Europe and digesting news that United States interest rates are heading up this month.
The Straits Times Index (STI) closed flat, up 0.01 per cent or 0.25 point to 2,883.89.
Among the more active STI stocks was Neptune Orient Lines (NOL), which rose one cent to $1.205 on a volume of 20.6 million shares. French shipping giant CMA CGM, which is in exclusive talks with NOL on a takeover, has obtained firm commitments from banks to finance the deal, sources said.
Commodity player Noble Group fell one cent to 41.5 cents on a volume of 19.9 million shares.
CapitaLand gained four cents to close at $3.22, with around 15.4 million shares changing hands.
Singtel was another active mover, declining by two cents to $3.82, with 14.5 million shares traded.
The decision by the European Central Bank (ECB) was due last night, Singapore time. If it opted for additional easing measures, including a cut to the deposit rate, markets here should benefit.
Meanwhile, US Federal Reserve chief Janet Yellen said on Wednesday that she was looking forward to an interest rate hike as it will be seen as a testament to the economy's recovery. She added that job growth through October suggested that the labour market was healing, even if it was not yet at full strength.
Penny plays continued to rule the roost. Alliance Mineral Assets was hit with a trading query over unusual volume movements in its shares yesterday. The stock gained 3.4 per cent or 0.5 cent to 15.2 cents, with 75.5 million shares traded.
A trade-with-caution notice was placed on SunMoon Food Company after it said it did not know what caused the substantial increase in its traded volume yesterday. The stock skyrocketed 42 per cent or 2.5 cents to 8.4 cents, with 63.7 million shares traded.
Sincap Group was another punters' favourite, soaring 21 per cent or 1.3 cents to 7.4 cents, with 56.1 million shares traded.
This came after it announced last Friday that terms of a settlement over irregularities relating to certain loan transactions undertaken by Australian unit SCL Murray are being finalised. The settlement is expected to be signed today.
Rowsley jumped nearly 7 per cent or 1.2 cents to 18.4 cents, with 53.9 million shares traded. Management and board changes were announced to speed up the transformation of the company into a major real estate player.
Medical and agricultural investor Trendlines rose 11.8 per cent or four cents to 38 cents, with 30.9 million shares traded. The Catalist board's 100th listing debuted on Nov 26 with an offer price of 33 cents.
The Singapore Exchange's first mainboard listing of the year, BHG Retail Reit, was launched on Wednesday night.