SE Asia Stocks-Mostly down as Chinese flash PMI weighs

Thu Feb 20, 2014 2:15am EST

Feb 20 (Reuters) - Most Southeast Asian stocks eased on
Thursday after a survey on China's manufacturing sector
heightened concerns about the world's second largest economy,
while Thai shares fell on continued political unrest. 
    Activity in China's factories shrank again in February,
hitting a seven-month low as employment fell at its fastest pace
in five years, a preliminary private survey showed on Thursday.
 
    Morgan Stanley in a research note said a China slowdown
exerts collateral impact on commodity prices and it will "affect
terms-of-trade for commodity exporters such as Indonesia and
Malaysia." 
    Thailand's SET index was down 1.1 percent by midday
to a one-week low, led by a 2.8 percent fall in Advanced Info
Services PCL and a 1.4 percent loss in top energy
firm PTT PCL. 
    Investors have been cautious over Thailand's risky assets on
continuing political unrest. Foreign investors have sold a net
$930 million in the last 18 straight sessions through Wednesday,
Reuters data showed.
    Shares in property developer SC Asset Corp, in which
Prime Minister Yingluck Shinawatra's family owns a large stake,
fell 5 percent after protesters said they would target
businesses linked to the family. 
    Shares in Jakarta fell 0.2 percent from a near
four-month closing high hit in the previous session. 
    "After strong foreign flows into the market recently,
supported by good macroeconomic data, local investors are taking
profit today in small-cap shares," said John Teja, director of
Jakarta-based broker Ciptadana Securities.
    Outperforming the market, banking shares traded at
a five-month high, which analysts attributed to better earnings
in the December quarter. 
    Malaysia's stock index was down 0.2 percent by midday, while
Singapore shares hit a one-month high on positive
economic growth data, but then eased following the disappointing
Chinese factory data. 
    Vietnam's benchmark VN Index was 0.4 percent weaker
as profit-taking in most small-cap shares erased gains in banks
and some big-caps.
    Bucking the regional trend, Philippine stocks rose
0.9 percent, to a three-month high led by holding firms. 
    "Market sentiment has turned positive amid positive earnings
results and company guidance," DA Market Securities said in a
note. 
        
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SOUTHEAST ASIAN STOCK MARKETS
 Change at 0642 GMT
 Market             Current     Prev Close    Pct Move
 TR SE Asia Index*   393.21        395.19       -0.50
 Singapore          3084.83       3088.79       -0.13
 Kuala Lumpur       1825.55       1829.45       -0.21
 Bangkok            1306.22       1321.00       -1.12
 Jakarta            4579.96       4592.65       -0.28
 Manila             6352.65       6294.62       +0.92
 Ho Chi Minh         575.63        578.12       -0.43
 * The Thomson Reuters South East Asia Index is a
highly representative indicator of stocks listed in Indonesia,
Malaysia, the Philippines, Singapore, Thailand and Vietnam.
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