Singapore market ends higher; gets help from Noble's sharp rebound

SINGAPORE - Local stocks continued their rebound as activities in the commodity sector lifted the market on Thursday (June 11).

The benchmark Straits Times Index (STI) rose 21.90 points or 0.66 per cent to 3,347.67, rebounding for the second day after the index dipped below 3,300 on Tuesday.

Commodity play Noble Group was the market highlight yesterday as it rose the most among blue chips, closing six cents or 9.3 per cent up at 70.5 cents. It was also the most actively traded stock on Singapore Exchange, with over 167 million shares changing hands - the highest amount since September last year.

The strong jump ended Noble's dismal run in recent weeks when the shares plunged to multiple new lows. On Wednesday it dropped 2.27 per cent to 64.5 cents, its lowest in close to six years.

An open letter by company chairman Richard Elman urging shareholders to have faith in Noble's management probably helped stem the drop, but CMC Markets analyst Nicholas Teo said institutional players were behind the jump, and the rebound was likely temporary.

Meanwhile, Wilmar International closed five cents or 1.51 per cent up at $3.36, while First Resources ended 5.5 cents or 2.78 per cent higher at $2.03.

"Palm oil prices hit a new 52-week hit last Friday, having rebounded more than 10 per cent over the last one and a half month. The market is expecting El Nino's weather impact to be severe on production, which is positive for palm oil prices. I believe palm oil plays still have their upside," Mr Teo said.

Global Logistic Properties was the top losing blue chip, closing four cents or 1.49 per cent down at $2.65. Telco StarHub dropped two cents or 0.5 per cent lower at $4.01.

Telco stocks have been going through a rough patch recently, amid talk of the emergence of a fourth operator - potentially MyRepublic - that could disrupt their earnings and operating outlook.

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