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Singapore stocks finish higher led by penny stocks


MOST observers would look at movements in the Straits Times Index (STI) to gauge the state of the market, but on Monday, all eyes were on penny stock CEFC International, which rocketed up by S$0.08 or 80 per cent to S$0.18 on a volume of 127.5 million. A week ago, the counter had traded for around S$0.03, which means it has risen six times in six trading sessions.

With the petrochemical firm demonstrating the potential of the penny segment, interest in several others also picked up - Sino Construction, Polaris, LionGold and Vallianz to name a few.

The STI, in the meantime, rose 20.03 points or 0.60 per cent to 3,373.48, not surprising given that worries surrounding Greece have receded for the time being. Equally likely was that the rise was thanks to programme buying ahead of a firm session on Wall Street. Whatever the case, what was notable was that the gain took the index eight points or 0.2 per cent into the black for the year to date, having spent the past six weeks in the red.

Turnover was 1.9 billion units worth S$1.1 billion for an average of S$0.58 per unit and, excluding warrants, there were 286 rises versus 172 falls.

CEFC was queried last week by Singapore Exchange about its share price movement and it replied by drawing attention to a July 7 announcement about possibly buying into a company that owns a floating storage tank.

It said it is also "in discussions with a consortium to acquire equity interest in a company that is currently engaged in the construction of certain port facilities and cargo transportation in China'' and added that nothing has been signed yet. For the six months ended June 30, CEFC reported a loss of US$1.66 million, triple the loss of the corresponding period last year.