INTEREST in blue chips has dipped sharply over the past few weeks but although dollar volume on Monday was still heavily concentrated in the 30 Straits Times Index (STI) components, speculative small caps were the main volume play, led by some of the names involved in the penny stock crash of October 2013.
These included LionGold, Blumont and Attilan Group, the latter being the new name of Asiasons Capital which - together with LionGold and Blumont - were the three central players 31 months ago whose collapse triggered spillover selling of the entire small cap sector.
The STI, in the meantime, managed a 1.15 point rise to 2,736.06 but it was the pennies which occupied most of the market's attention.
The leader of the penny surge this time was fund manager ISR Capital, which last Monday traded for S$0.006 but this Monday rose S$0.035 or 42.7 per cent to S$0.117 on volume of 43.5 million, a gain of 1,850 per cent in six trading sessions.
The Singapore Exchange (SGX) in the morning dispatched queries to LionGold, Blumont, Annica Holdings and Jadason Enterprises. Of these, only Blumont and Jadason replied before 5 pm, both saying essentially that they did not know of reasons for the sudden interest in its shares. Jadason was the best performer of those queried, its shares surging S$0.028 or 215 per cent to S$0.041 on turnover of 77.7 million.
Meanwhile, brokers were at a loss to describe the burst of interest in pennies, other than speculate that with the current weakness in blue chips set to continue for a while longer, traders were turning to the lowest-priced counters to try and make money.