SE Asia Stocks-Flat to weaker, Singapore down on ex-dividend

Mon Aug 5, 2013 3:29am EDT

BANGKOK, Aug 5 (Reuters) - Southeast Asian stocks were flat
to weaker on Monday amid selective buying in battered large caps
including Malaysian banks and Philippine SM Investments
Corp but activity dropped across exchanges in
holiday-thinned demand.
    Malaysian key index edged up 0.11 percent, with
shares in AMMB Holdings rising 2.6 percent, the top
percentage gainer.
    Large caps led the Malaysian benchmark lower last week after
Fitch Ratings downgraded the country's credit outlook.
 
    In Manila, shares in SM Investment, the top company by
market value, gained almost 1 percent at one point after
Friday's 8.6 percent drop following a share placement at
discount. 
    Singapore's Straits Times Index slid 0.6 percent as
telecom firm Singapore Telecommunications Ltd and port
operator Hutchison Port Holdings Trust were major
losers as both stocks went ex-dividend. 
    In a rangebound session, the Thai main SET index 
inched down 0.08 percent to 1,419.80 at midday in a thin trading
volume that was 21 percent of the full day average over the past
30 sessions.
    Investors were cautious over domestic political developments
as anti-government demonstrators continued a peaceful protest to
oppose the amnesty bill set to be deliberated by parliament this
week, brokers said. 
    The SET index staged a mild rebound in morning trade after
last week's drop of almost 4 percent, when it underperformed
regional peers, partly due to political concerns.
    Broker KGI Securities said sentiment was supportive from the
U.S. financial markets as lower-than-expected July jobs data
boosted investor belief that the stimulus program, known as QE,
would remain in place
    "However, we believe the recovery in SET remains fragile and
sensitive to local political news flow," it said in a report.
    Most Southeast Asian bourses are in a shortened session this
week, with Singapore and Malaysia shut on Thursday and Friday.
The Philippines will be closed on Friday, with Indonesia closed
this week for Eid Al-Fitr holidays.
    
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SOUTHEAST ASIAN STOCK MARKETS
 Change at 0651 GMT
 Market             Current     Prev Close    Pct Move
 TR SE Asia Index*   423.98        422.88       +0.26
 Singapore          3232.40       3254.13       -0.67
 Kuala Lumpur       1785.52       1782.51       +0.17
 Bangkok            1419.80       1420.94       -0.08
 Manila             6513.98       6533.95       -0.31
 Ho Chi Minh         493.46        494.66       -0.24
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