China Investment Corp sold part of its stake in Noble Group, sending shares in the commodity trader tumbling and sparking fears the mainland sovereign wealth fund will eventually move to offload most of its holding. CIC, the second-biggest shareholder, sold shares equivalent to 4.5 per cent of the commodity trader. The shares were sold at S$1.32 (HK$8.04), the bottom of an indicative range that topped out at S$1.35, raising S$396 million. It was not clear why CIC was selling the stake, but Nathan Gee, an analyst at Bank of America Merrill Lynch, said he did not expect any damage to Noble's strategic relationships on the mainland. The deal coincided with the completion of Noble's US$1.5 billion sale of a 51 per cent stake in its agricultural products venture to Cofco, the mainland's largest grain trader, and that was the more important relationship, Gee wrote in a report. But he said investors would be concerned about whether CIC would move to dispose of the rest of its stake, which now is about 9.4 per cent. A source said CIC would continue to be a substantial holder of Noble's shares. The shares fell 6.8 per cent yesterday to close at S$1.30, making it the market's top loser. CIC has taken a hit on Noble shares. It first invested in the stock in 2009, with an initial purchase of 573 million shares at S$2.1137 each. Spurred on by decade-long commodity boom, the shares hit a record high of S$2.40 in early 2011. But a downturn in the sentiment towards commodities on slower growth on the mainland, combined with Noble's rapid expansion, has since weighed on its earnings.