Singapore's Straits Times Index dips 0.2%; penny stocks suffer big sell-off

SINGAPORE stocks dipped on Friday, even as caution continued to reign in the region in the face of United States government shutdown and debt ceiling uncertainty.

The benchmark Straits Times Index (STI) slid 6.71 points, or 0.21 per cent, to 3,138.08.A total of 4.6 billion shares worth just $1.2 billion changed hands.

But the spotlight was firmly cast on small cap stocks and penny plays following dramatic proceedings which saw the Singapore Exchange suspend trading in three such counters in the morning.

The three - Blumont Group, Asiasons Capital and Liongold - were suspended but not before their share price each sank sharply.

Blumont plunged $1.14, or 56.44 per cent, to 88 cents while Asiasons dived $1.66 or 61.48 per cent, to $1.04. Liongold sank 63.5 cents, or 42.05 per cent, to 87.5 cents.

Major regional markets also slipped, with Hong Kong down 0.33 per cent, Japan dropping 0.94 per cent and Australia 0.51 per cent behind.

Back home, the 30 STI component counters ended mixed, with 16 losers, 10 gainers and four flat.

Hongkong Land continued its recent spiral, sinking another 21 US cents to US$6.32 to be the day's worst STI performer in percentage terms.

The day's most active was Innopac Holdings, which plunged 7.3 cents to 6.5 cents with 670.1 million units traded.