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The Singapore Market this Week

Singapore’s market barometer the Straits Times Index  (SGX: ^STI) slumped by 150 points, or 4.5%, to end the week at 3,203 points.

Of the index’s 30 components, some 28 of them had suffered a weekly loss with Noble Group Limited (SGX: N21) leading the pack. The commodities trader had dropped a massive 28.4% to S$0.455 over the course of the week; this equates to S$1.2 billion in market capitalisation being wiped out.

Noble has been facing pressure on many fronts over the past few months. It all started in February this year when a little-known research company, Iceberg Research, put out a report criticizing different aspects of Noble. Ever since Iceberg’s first report, the firm has lost more than S$3 billion in market capitalisation.

Yesterday, it was reported in The Straits Times that the shares of the commodity firm that are borrowed by short-sellers “has now skyrocketed to 600 million shares from around 50 million in mid-April, hitting nearly 15 per cent of its free float”. Free float refers to the number of shares of a company that are held in the public’s hands; in other words, they are shares that are not controlled by the company’s insiders or other strategic shareholders.

The two shares in the Straits Times Index that did not make a loss during the week were Thai Beverage Public Company Limited (SGX: Y92) and Olam International Ltd (SGX: O32). The former put on 0.7% to S$0.755 while the latter added 3.4% to S$1.84.

Elsewhere, SMRT Corporation Ltd (SGX: S53) lost 5.8% to finish the week at S$1.385. The bus and rail services provider had released its fiscal first-quarter earnings during the week and saw its revenue rise 7.8% to S$320.3 million. But, its profit after tax and minority interests had decreased by 10% to S$20.1 million.

Currently, the SPDR STI ETF (SGX:ES3), a proxy for the Straits Times Index, is trading at 12.8 times its trailing earnings and has a dividend yield 2.9%.

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The information provided is for general information purposes only and is not intended to be personalised investment or financial advice. Motley Fool Singapore contributor Sudhan P doesn’t own shares in any companies mentioned.