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Singapore: Penny stocks in play


ONE gauge of market activity - or quality if you prefer - is the average value per unit traded. This is obtained by dividing the dollar value by turnover, the resulting number giving an idea of where the market's energies or interests were for the session in question.

For most of the first quarter of 2014 this statistic was well under S$0.50, indicating a preference for lower-priced or penny stocks. In the early part of this year, the figure hovered around S$1, which indicated a shift towards higher-priced issues - a shift that could roughly be interpreted to show a move from low- to higher-quality issues.

In Monday's session, however, dollar volume of S$959 million from unit volume of 1.6 billion yielded an average value of S$0.60 per unit traded, an uncomfortable result for those who were hoping the shift to higher-priced stocks would continue.

The Straits Times Index in the meantime, managed a 4.16 points gain at 3,454.26 on the second last trading day of the quarter, not a great outcome for those who bought at the end of last week in anticipation of a window-dressing push, but then again, there is still one more day to go. It was the index's fifth consecutive rise and the advance-decline score was 228-188 excluding warrants.

The rise came in tandem with a firm closing for Hong Kong and a positive opening for Europe, the former supposedly because China has signalled more monetary stimulus and the latter because of a bounce in the US futures market that suggested a firm opening for Wall Street on Monday.