SE Asia Stocks-Firmer; large-caps lead S'pore to 2-year high

Thu Jan 24, 2013 5:19am EST

BANGKOK, Jan 24 (Reuters) - Southeast Asian stock markets
gained on Thursday after a subdued session, with Singapore
hitting a two-year high, led by large-caps such as Singapore
Telecommunications Ltd and Thai stocks setting a new
17-1/2 year closing high.
    Trading volumes in the region were relatively light, with
volumes of Singapore at 0.8 times a monthly average. Investors
were cautious as Asian shares retreated late in the session,
with North Korea threatening a nuclear test. 
    Singapore's Straits Times Index rose for a second
day after encouraging manufacturing data from China. It ended up
0.53 percent at 3,248.39, the highest close since Jan. 18, 2011.
    Bangkok's SET index also extended its gain for a
second session, rising 0.7 percent to 1,449.09, the highest
close since July 14, 1995. PTT Global Chemical Pcl 
gained 1.3 percent on hopes of quarterly results. 
    Foreign investors had bought Thai shares over the past eight
sessions to Wednesday worth a combined $287 million, further
strengthening the Thai baht this week which also
boosted corporate demand for dollars. 
    "With the strengthening Thai baht, we are looking to buy
dollars in a high volume which will be for our investments over
five years," PTT Exploration and Production Pcl's CFO Penchan
Charikasem told reporters.
    Philippine Composite Index ended two sessions of
falls to rise 0.4 percent to 6,117.27, but still hovering below
its Monday's record finish of 6,171.70.
    The Ho Chi Minh Stock Exchange's VN Index climbed
2.04 percent to 452.40, adding on Thursday's 0.12 percent gain,
in a technical recovery, driven mainly by blue chips.
 
    Stock markets in Malaysia and Indonesia shut for a market
holiday.
        
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SOUTHEAST ASIAN STOCK MARKETS
 Change on day
 Market             Current     Prev Close    Pct Move
 TR SE Asia Index*   433.21        433.01       +0.05
 Singapore          3248.39       3231.23       +0.53
 Kuala Lumpur         --          1635.25         -- 
 Bangkok            1449.09       1439.20       +0.69
 Jakarta              --          4418.73         -- 
 Manila             6117.27       6092.53       +0.41 
 Ho Chi Minh         452.40        443.37       +2.04
 
 Change on year
 Market             Current     End prev yr    Pct Move
 TR SE Asia Index*   433.21        424.10       +2.15
 Singapore          3248.39       3167.08       +2.57
 Kuala Lumpur         --          1688.95       -3.18
 Bangkok            1449.09       1391.93       +4.11
 Jakarta              --          4316.69       +2.36
 Manila             6117.27       5812.73       +5.24
 Ho Chi Minh         452.40        413.73       +9.35
 
* The Thomson Reuters South East Asia Index               is a
highly representative indicator of stocks listed in Indonesia,
Malaysia, the Philippines, Singapore, Thailand and Vietnam.
    
 Stock Market Volume (shares)
 Market          Current Volume    Average Volume 30 days
 Singapore         218,244,300          272,313,503      
 Bangkok            21,661,047           19,508,808      
 Manila                 97,306               91,974    
 Ho Chi Minh            49,811               73,466