STOCKS NEWS ASEAN-Malaysia continues to attract inflows
Foreign investors continued to favour Malaysian stocks last week as appetite for the country's risk assets remained strong with the market falling to an attractive level after pricing in the national elections to be held mid-year. Malaysia's bourse took in $228 million in net foreign purchases in the week ended March 15, more than any of its Southeast Asian rivals, followed by a $361 million offshore inflow in the previous week, stock exchange data showed. "Foreigners think the current government would stay in power. So they are not so concerned," said Ang Kok Heng, who helps manage some $422 million as chief investment officer at Kuala Lumpur-based Phillip Capital Management Sdn Bhd. "But locals are more worried because they think there is a chance Barisan (the ruling party) may lose." Another Kuala Lumpur-based analyst said foreigners have been buying only heavyweights such as Telekom Malaysia Bhd and Tenaga Nasional Bhd, and not small caps. Kuala Lumpur has enjoyed a net $2.06 billion in inflows so far this year, the highest in the Southeast Asian region, followed by Indonesia's $1.97 billion. Kuala Lumpur's Composite Index has fallen 4 percent so far in 2013, the region's worst performer. The market's 14-day relative strength index has fallen to a near over-sold level from an overbought region early this year, Thomson Reuters data showed. Domestic investors were net sellers of the market due to caution ahead of the general election. Thailand witnessed $208 million inflow, while Indonesia suffered a $100 million outflow last week. Year-to-date inflows into Indonesian and Vietnamese markets have already exceeded last year's total foreign inflows, Thomson Reuters data showed. Net foreign buying (or selling, in brackets) (Millions of US dollars) 1 week MTD* FEB YTD* 2012 Malaysia 228 651 585 2,056 n/a Thailand 208 387 (583) 303 2,506 Indonesia (100) 215 1,161 1,971 1,639 Philippines (0.27) 251 146 1,221 2,693 Vietnam 13 35 (4) 152 151 * MTD = month to date, YTD = year to date Source - Thomson Reuters, stock exchanges Singapore data is not available (Reporting by Shihar Aneez; Additional reporting by Anuradha Raghu in Kuala Lumpur; Editing by Jijo Jacob)
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