SingPost slumps further to 22-month low as volume surges.

SingPost slumps further to 22-month low as volume surges.

Singapore - Big investors might be losing faith in Singapore Post's ability to deliver worthwhile returns, going by the stock's even steeper plunge to a 22-month low on Thursday that was accompanied by a spike in the number of large trades.

SingPost seems no stranger to plumbing fresh depths these days as its corporate governance issues drag on unresolved. The stock fell 6.5 per cent in just one session, losing S$0.09 to finish at S$1.30 - its lowest price since March 2014.

The percentage drop came right after a 4.5 per cent fall on Wednesday, and was also the stock's worst since it plummeted 6.6 per cent on Oct 29, 2008, in the depths of the global financial crisis.

Thursday's tumble happened as volume shot up to 31 million shares, more than thrice the 12-month moving average of nine million shares changing hands per session.

The unusual trading activity drew a query from the Singapore Exchange slightly before noon on Thursday. Noting that this was the second query it had issued SingPost over the past one month, the bourse asked the group to "respond immediately".

SingPost had not responded to SGX's query as at 9pm on Thursday.

The counter's plunge on Thursday happened amid several large trades in SingPost shares, with a couple of individual trades done that were worth more than half a million Singapore dollars each, Bloomberg data showed.

That included one massive block of 449,100 shares sold at S$1.30 apiece in the late afternoon, worth a whopping S$583,830 in total. Another block of 415,400 shares also changed hands at S$1.30 each, worth S$540,020.

Including those, Bloomberg data showed 27 individual trades that involved at least 100,000 shares on Thursday, compared with just 10 such blocks on Wednesday.

The identities of the sellers on Thursday could not be determined. But ownership figures indicate that some prominent asset managers have cut their SingPost stakes since the start of January.

For instance, a fund under Bank of New York Mellon had 233,400 shares at the end of 2015 but had reduced that to 222,000 as at a Jan 27 filing date. Another fund under BlackRock Asset Management also had about 5.21 million shares as at Dec 31 last year but the number was down to around 5.11 million as at a Jan 26 filing date.

Prior to the stock's sharp fall on Thursday, SingPost shares had seen a roughly similar drop of 6.2 per cent or S$0.10 to S$1.51 on Jan 6, on 31.4 million shares changing hands. That had also drawn a bourse query about unusual trading, to which SingPost replied the following day to say it did not know of any explanation.


This article was first published on Jan 29, 2016.
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