SGX advances; Noble climbs 40% on report of buyout by Chinese firm

Singapore stocks trader
A share market trader in Singapore Reuters

Singapore shares edged higher on Monday, led by gains in Noble Group amidst report of a Chinese conglomerate expressing interest to buy the embattled commodities trader.

Asian shares declined after the U.S. government shut down extended to a third day amid a dispute between President Donald Trump and Democrats over immigration.

MSCI's broadest index of Asia-Pacific shares outside Japan dropped 0.2 percent while Japan's Nikkei was down 0.1 percent. U.S. S&P500 mini futures dipped 0.15 percent in early trade, Reuters data showed.

The Straits Times Index ended up 0.54 percent or 19 points to 3,569. It ended 0.82 percent higher on Friday, taking the year-to-date gains to about 4 percent.

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The city-state's top lenders Oversea-Chinese Banking Corp lost 0.3 percent, United Overseas Bank declined 0.5 percent but DBS Group Holdings rose 0.6 percent.

Active stocks included Sembcorp Marine, climbing 4.3 percent to S$2.4 while Mermaid Maritime gained 3.3 percent to S$0.15 in afternoon trades. Index heavyweight Jardine Matheson Holdings rose as much as 3.1 percent

Shares in Noble Group jumped as much as 40 percent to S$0.28 after Bloomberg reported that China's Cedar Holdings has made an informal approach to some major Noble Group shareholders regarding the buyout.

Shares in Sembcorp Marine extended last week's rally following an upgrade by Nomura.

Singapore Exchange shares gained as much as 2.8 percent to S$8.20 after the bourse operator on Friday said it would allow companies with dual-class share structures to have their primary listing on the SGX.

About 1.8 billion shares worth S$1.4 billion changed hands, with gainers outnumbering losers 247 to 177.

This article was first published on January 22, 2018