SE Asia Stocks-Most up; Thai shares lead amid rate-cut hopes

Tue Jan 21, 2014 1:46am EST

BANGKOK, Jan 21 (Reuters) - Thai shares rose on Tuesday as
expectations of interest rate cut bolstered broader sentiment,
while most Southeast Asian stock markets rebounded in line with
gains in Asian stock markets.
    The key SET index was up 0.9 percent at 1,301.61 by
midday, with players piling into large caps after their recent
falls. 
    Shares of airport operator Airports of Thailand 
climbed 3.8 percent after a 5 percent drop over the past two
sessions and telecom operator Advanced Info Service 
rose 1.4 percent, recouping some losses over the past two days.
    The Bank of Thailand's monetary policy committee is expected
to cut its benchmark interest rate by 25 basis points on
Wednesday to help the economy cope with prolonged political
unrest. 
    Brokers expect profit-taking around key 1,300 level, citing
the large-scale anti-government protests in Bangkok which
entered the second week, showing no signs of ending soon as the
group's demand for Prime Minister Yingluck Shinawatra to step
down has not been met. 
    "The political uncertainty and weaker economy could keep the
market in check at this point. But today we see expectations
about rate cut helped make growth and dividend yielding stocks
more attractive," said Pichai Lertsupongkij, a senior analyst at
broker Thanachart Securities.
    Stocks in Singapore, Malaysia and Indonesia
 edged slightly higher as MSCI's broadest index of
Asia-Pacific shares outside Japan was up 0.5
percent. 
    Among weak spots in the region, shares of cement companies
such as Semen Indonesia and Indocement 
slipped amid concerns about the impact of flooding in the
country on sales, brokers said.
    Stocks in the Philippines eased 0.1 percent after
four sessions of gains, while Vietnam fell 0.5 percent
ending 12 sessions of rises. 
    
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SOUTHEAST ASIAN STOCK MARKETS
 Change at 0544 GMT
 Market             Current     Prev Close    Pct Move
 TR SE Asia Index*   385.34        383.93       +0.37
 Singapore          3138.72       3128.79       +0.32
 Kuala Lumpur       1815.12       1807.59       +0.42
 Bangkok            1301.61       1289.99       +0.90
 Jakarta            4447.73       4431.57       +0.36
 Manila             5998.09       6005.60       -0.13
 Ho Chi Minh         550.68        553.67       -0.54