SE Asia Stocks-Mostly weak on Chinese growth concerns; Thai shares gain

Fri Jan 24, 2014 2:10am EST

Jan 24 (Reuters) - Most Southeast Asian stock markets eased
on Friday as disappointing Chinese manufacturing data and the
possibility of the U.S. Federal Reserve further trimming its
bond buying next week hit sentiment. 
    The Jakarta Composite Index was 0.9 percent down by
midday led by financials, after hitting a near three-month high
in the previous session, having gained 1.9 percent in the four
straight sessions through Thursday. 
    The fall was partly caused by the correction in Wall Street
last night and the weakness of the rupiah, said John Teja,
director of Jakarta-based broker Ciptadana Securities.
    "After rebounding since the beginning of January, the equity
market looks to be taking a pause and potentially moving
sideways for the time being," he added.
    The rupiah slid as much as 0.7 percent in early trade. 
    Cautious investors are awaiting directions from the Fed,
which some market players expect to further trim its bond buying
next week even as Chinese manufacturing data pointed to a mild
slowdown in the new year. 
    Singapore eased 0.9 percent to a near five-week
low, heading for its biggest weekly loss in more than 3-1/2
months, with Keppel Corp falling 1.4 percent after
reporting a 26 percent fall in 2013 net profit.
    Singapore shares have been the worst performers this week
followed by Malaysia and Thailand. Malaysia was down 0.3
percent, trading at a five-week low. 
    However, Thai shares bucked the trend, rising 0.5
percent after Bangkok returned to calm after weeks of political
unrest, extending the week's net gain to 1 percent, with foreign
investors buying into risky assets on a net basis on Thursday
for the first time this week. 
    The Philippine share index, the best performer for
the week, was up 0.4 percent, while Vietnam gained 0.9 percent
as investors expect the foreign holdings ceiling in some listed
firms to be raised soon. 
           
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SOUTHEAST ASIAN STOCK MARKETS
 Change at 0645 GMT
 Market             Current     Prev Close    Pct Move
 TR SE Asia Index*   384.20        385.41       -0.31
 Singapore          3073.89       3100.24       -0.85
 Kuala Lumpur       1802.98       1808.31       -0.29
 Bangkok            1314.45       1308.34       +0.47
 Jakarta            4454.73       4496.04       -0.92
 Manila             6195.64       6170.05       +0.41
 Ho Chi Minh         558.41        553.55       +0.88
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