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Singapore shares close lower, but pennies continue to shine

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THE Straits Times Index (STI) may have drifted to a 7.01 point loss at 2,849.94 on Monday but the real action was once again in penny stocks, where the likes of Noble Group, Sunmoon, Ezra, Alliance Mineral and Artivision posted rises of at least 30 per cent in high volume during the day.

Although most surrendered their gains by 5 pm, punting in these stocks helped elevate unit volume to 1.3 billion units up from last Friday's one billion units. Dollar value however, was a weak S$662.4 million, the lowest in several weeks. Excluding warrants, there were 162 rises versus 226 falls.

Brokers said that although most of the churning of low-priced issues was largely speculative, transitional and prone to fizzle out very quickly, it at least gave traders a chance to make some money.

Commodities firm Noble Group first rose to S$0.141 but ended at S$0.138, a net gain of S$0.002. Former penny leader, fund managers ISR Capital, dropped to S$0.02 to S$0.25 on volume of 10.4 million.

Elsewhere in the second line, shares of Poh Tiong Choon Logistics first crashed S$0.315 or 23 per cent to S$1.045 before recovering to S$1.16, a net loss of S$0.20 or 14.7 per cent on volume of 859,000 shares.

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The company last week announced that a group of substantial shareholders has notified the company that they are undertaking a strategic review of their shareholdings. Its share price plunge drew a query from the Singapore Exchange.

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