Singapore shares headed for third week of gains

PHOTO: Singapore shares headed for third week of gains

Singapore shares edged down on Friday but remained on course for their third week of rise, while the three stocks that have become targets of a government investigation tumbled on heavy volumes.

The benchmark Straits Times Index was down 0.2 per cent at 3,211.84 by 0506 GMT, on course for a 0.6 per cent rise from a week earlier.

The MSCI's broadest index of Asia-Pacific shares outside Japan fell 0.4 per cent, as rising Chinese money-market rates countered signs of a pick-up in manufacturing. Shares of Blumont Group Ltd, Asiasons Capital Ltd and LionGold Corp Ltd plunged after the Singapore's central bank and stock market operator announced they were conducting an extensive review of the recent share price volatility of these stocks.

Blumont fell as much as 9.5 per cent to S$0.181, the lowest in more than a week. It hit a record high of S$2.54 earlier in October, before losing 95 per cent of the value over subsequent four sessions. Asiasons dropped 8.7 per cent and LionGold 8.5 per cent.

Budget carrier Tiger Airways Holding Ltd dropped as much as 6.3 per cent to an almost seven-week low at S$0.53, after posting a core net loss of S$32 million in the second quarter ended Sept. 30.

"Factoring in lower load factors and higher costs at Tigerair Singapore and wider losses from associates, we push up our core loss estimate for FY14 to S$80m from S$11m previously," DBS said in a research note. "We now believe the Group is unlikely to turnaround in FY15 as well."

DBS has downgraded the stock to "fully valued" and cut its target price to S$0.74 from S$0.47.

Commodities firm Noble Group Ltd was the worst performer on the index. Its shares dropped 2.8 per cent to S$1.04, the biggest decline the company has seen in six weeks. The stock hit S$1.095 earlier in the week, its highest in more than five months.