Published On: Wed, May 15th, 2013

Singapore sees small gains, while Nikkei sets record high.

Shares on Singapore’s Straits Times climbed to 3451.04 during early trading on Wednesday, translating to an advance of 0.2 percent. While the rest of the index hovered around their opening prices, Noble, one of the index’s constituents, fell by 6.3 percent and was continuing to fall at the time of writing.

The commodities trader posts profits for the first three months of the year of $41.3m, representing a decline of 62 percent. The stock was one of the top 10 most traded in Asia on Wednesday (by total value), with more than 55 million transactions taking place — a 180 percent increase of the 30 day average.

The decline was attributed to a “challenging operating environment” by Noble, who have been one of Singapore’s most consistent performers for some time now. Maybank Kim Eng were quick to downgrade Noble from a “Buy” to a “Hold” after the announcement, citing the unlikelihood for gains “in the near-term”.

Elsewhere in Asia, the MSCI saw a decline of 0.1 percent as most of the continent remained little changed, except for Japan and the Nikkei 225. The Nikkei set a new five and a half year high after breaching the 15,000 mark, with exporters leading the index to solid advances on the back of yet further weakening of the Yen. Sony was one of the days big gainers, climbing 12 percent after a US fund suggested that the company lists its entertainment division in a spin off. The fund is lead by Daniel Loeb and owns a 6 percent stake in the electronics giant. This has lead to many analysts suggesting that a battle between New York and Tokyo could follow.

Toyota Motor Corp added 2.6 percent, while Panasonic Corp and Toshiba Corp advanced by 5.5 percent and 4.1 percent respectively — leading the way for exporters.

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- Gregory previously worked for a leading financial news publication and is now assistant news editor of