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Singapore: Stocks end weaker with STI down 1.4%


WALL Street may have rebounded sharply on Monday after seven successive days of losses, but there was no impact here in Singapore as the Straits Times Index melted 43.6 points or 1.36 per cent to end at 3,153.06 on Tuesday, led by falls in the banks and Singtel.

Weakness in China and anticipation of a Tuesday blowout in the United States were the likely reasons for the pressure that came in a relatively heavy volume of two billion units worth S$1.9 billion. Excluding warrants, there were 161 rises and 296 falls.

Brokers said volatility in China and expectations that US rates would be raised sooner rather than later were probably the main reason for the selling.

Among the stocks in play was Noble Group, which first bounced to an intraday high of S$0.645 but slid to a nett loss of S$0.01 at S$0.57 on a volume of 307.5 million.

The company released its second-quarter results over the weekend, together with a report by accountants PricewaterhouseCoopers (PWC) that said Noble adheres to accepted accounting practices when valuing its mark-to-market contracts.

Maybank Kim Eng (MKE) said the PWC report did not come as a surprise to the market. The broker also said Noble's first-half profit reached only 37 per cent of MKE's full-year forecast and has maintained its "hold" on the stock, while cutting its target price from S$0.75 to S$0.64.

OCBC Investment Research noted the continued losses suffered by Noble Agri and highlighted that the main drag came from its metals and mining segment.

"In view of the bearish outlook for the commodities market in general, we deem it prudent to pare our FY15 estimates for revenue by 11 per cent and NPAT (net profit after tax) by 17 per cent. . . This in turn lowers our fair value from S$0.69 to S$0.60."