In early Friday trade, shares of troubled commodity trader Noble Group retraced some of their more than 36 percent surge in the previous session.

The stock was down 4.69 percent at 61 Singapore cents ($0.44) at 9:27 a.m. HK/SIN, after climbing 36.17 percent, or 17 Singapore cents, to close at S$0.64 on Thursday amid a surge in volume.

Nearly 7 million shares had changed hands as of 9:28 a.m. HK/SIN, with Reuters data showing some large trade sizes.

Nearly 124 million shares changed hands on Thursday, compared with its previous five-day average volume of 18.27 million, according to Reuters data.

Short-covering was unlikely to explain the move as Singapore Exchange (SGX) data indicated that only 678,000 shares were sold short as of the close on Wednesday.

But by Thursday’s close, that had jumped to around 4.1 million shares sold short, valued at around S$2.30 million, likely driven by expectations the stock’s surge would fade.

The company has been searching for a strategic investor — so far without any public announcement of success.

In May, Reuters reported, citing three sources familiar with the matter, that Chinese state-owned company Sinochem was no longer pursuing an investment in the Singapore-listed company due to concerns over its finances after it posted a surprise loss for the January-to-March quarter and warned it wouldn’t be profitable for two years.

In a response to the SGX’s query on the unusual activity on Thursday, Noble said it was unaware of any information not previously announced that could explain the trading.

Noble didn’t provide additional information.

“The group ensures that it is at all times in compliance with the listing rules and disclosure obligations. The group does not comment on third parties’ actions,” a Noble representative said in an email on Thursday in response to CNBC’s request for comment.

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