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Updated hot stock: Noble tumbles in active trade, prompting SGX query

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The share price of Noble Group tumbled more than 15 per cent in active trade on Tuesday, prompting a query from the Singapore Exchange (SGX) on its trading activity.

THE share price of Noble Group tumbled more than 15 per cent in active trade on Tuesday, prompting a query from the Singapore Exchange (SGX) on its trading activity.

Noble closed 2.9 Singapore cents - or 17.9 per cent - lower at S$0.133 a share. More than 335 million shares changed hands, making the commodities group the most actively traded stock on SGX.

In a reply to the regulator's query, Noble said it was unaware of any possible explanation of the trading, and confirmed that it was in compliance with the listing rules.

Asked for a reason for the latest tumble, a broker attributed the sell-off to the prevailing negative market sentiment towards debt-ridden companies with weak balance sheets.

As of March 31, 2016, Noble's cash and cash equivalents stood at US$1.35 billion, compared to US$1.95 billion at the end of 2015. It had about US$3.69 billion in net debt.

The stock has been trodden on by all sorts of downgrades by ratings agencies and the "buy" recommendations have virtually disappeared.