SE Asia Stocks-Mixed; Thai shares rebound amid fund buying

Thu Jan 16, 2014 2:21am EST

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. 
    
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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