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Singapore shares close weaker in low volume

OTHER than a spike upwards in the shares of Neptune Orient Lines over hopes of a takeover and Linc Energy because of a possible sale of assets, there was not much else for traders to focus their energies on.

Turnover was a weak one billion units worth S$685 million, the bulk of which was concentrated in the 30 Straits Times Index (STI) components and excluding warrants there were 163 rises versus 238 falls. The STI in the meantime, dropped 14.42 to 2,903.49.

Overseas markets did not provide much guidance - Hong Kong and China were weak whilst the Dow futures rose marginally in the morning session but weakened in the afternoon and Europe opened in the red, suggesting a soft Monday for Wall Street. "The silence is deafening," was a dealer's comment which summed up the state the local market currently finds itself in.

NOL over the weekend announced it is in exclusive talks with France's CMA CGM and has granted the latter until a minute before midnight on Dec 7 to decide whether to take over NOL.

OCBC Investment Research said based on Friday's closing price of S$1.12, there appears to be 23 per cent upside to NOL's book value of about S$1.38. "Nonetheless, without assurance, we advise investors to be cautious of the potential downside (approx 14 per cent) as well, should the deal fall through, given the poor industry outlook. Fundamentally, we have a HOLD rating on NOL, with fair value of S$0.96," said the broker.