SE Asia Stocks-Mixed; Thai shares rebound amid fund buying
BANGKOK, Jan 16 (Reuters) - Thai stocks rose on Thursday as bargain hunting emerged in shares of large cap firms and domestic political tension boosted expectations of an interest rate cut while Indonesian shares pulled lower after two sessions of gains. The key SET index was up 1.4 percent at 1,294.45 at midday as index heavyweights such as PTT, PTT Exploration and Production and Advanced Info Service recovered from the previous session's losses. Low valuations in shares of blue chip firms attracted domestic funds, including so-called trigger funds which will redeem when the index hits a target level, brokers said. "Any market weakness may be tempered by buying orders from more trigger funds. Market now looks at a possible rate cut by the central bank next week which could help on stock inflows," said Phillip Securities strategist Teerada Charnyingyong. Domestic institutions were net buyers of Thai shares over the past two sessions when foreign investors were net sellers. The Bank of Thailand's Monetary Policy Committee (MPC) will meet on Wednesday to review its benchmark interest rate. In November, the bank unexpectedly cut the rate a quarter of a point to 2.25 percent due to political tension. Protesters in Thailand trying to paralyse ministries to force the government to resign said they would target revenue offices on Thursday, but their numbers appeared to be dwindling and ministers say the movement could be running out of steam. Jakarta's Composite Index eased 0.3 percent after a rally of more than 4 percent this week, with selling hitting recent gainers such as Bank Rakyat Indonesia and shares of Indocement. Stocks in Singapore pared early gains to fall 0.1 percent, led down by commodities stocks such as Wilmar International while Malaysian stocks shed 0.5 percent to seven-week lows ahead of a market holiday on Friday. Philippine shares were up 0.6 percent and Vietnam stocks were up 0.9 percent amid positive sentiment in Asian stock markets, with MSCI Asia-Pacific ex-Japan Index adding 0.1 percent. Moody's Investors Service said sovereign ratings in South and Southeast Asia will be largely stable in 2014, reflecting the rating agency's expectation that global growth prospects will improve while global risks will decline. For Asian Companies click; For South East Asia Hot Stock reports, click; SOUTHEAST ASIAN STOCK MARKETS Change at 0655 GMT Market Current Prev Close Pct Move TR SE Asia Index* 385.30 384.98 +0.08 Singapore 3138.72 3143.25 -0.14 Kuala Lumpur 1816.46 1824.03 -0.42 Bangkok 1294.45 1277.03 +1.36 Jakarta 4430.32 4441.59 -0.25 Manila 5996.24 5958.12 +0.64 Ho Chi Minh 531.37 526.68 +0.89
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