SE Asia Stocks-Mostly up; Indonesia set for third month of gains
BANGKOK, Feb 28 (Reuters) - Most Southeast Asian stocks pushed higher on Friday, with Indonesia poised for a third straight month of gains while Thai shares edged cautiously higher amid lingering political uncertainty. Jakarta's Composite Index was up 0.6 percent at 4,596.71. Astra International, the country's biggest firm by value, jumped 3 percent, extending a rise from the previous session following its 2013 earnings announcement. Optimism about Indonesia's trade data, due on Monday, is supportive, said Jakarta-based Trimegah Securities. "We expect market to move further up on the back of trade deficit expectation starting to move from deficit towards surplus," the broker said in a report. Indonesian shares have notched up about 4 percent so far this month to Friday alongside a rise in the rupiah and foreign inflows. Net foreign buying this month up to Thursday was about $620 million, according to Thomson Reuters data . Shares of companies that stand to benefit from a rising rupiah were among the monthly outperformers, including Japfa Comfeed Indonesia, which is up 17 percent month-to-date. Stocks in Thailand extended gains from the previous session after anti-government protest leader Suthep Thaugsuban proposed a live television debate with Prime Minister Yingluck Shinawatra to defuse the domestic crisis. But brokers said market participants remained wary and were not willing to bet on the outcome of this move. "We believe the chance is very slim that negotiations will become successful in light of the preconditions for talks proposed by both sides ... domestic political developments still need close monitoring," Phillip Securities said in a report. The SET index edged up 0.2 percent at midday, with dividend-yielding shares such as Siam Cement among those actively traded. Politically-sensitive stocks were broadly weak, including Advanced Info Service and SC Asset Corporation amid calls by protesters to boycott businesses linked to Prime Minister Yingluck Shinawatra. Malaysia and the Philippines posted modest gains while Singapore and Vietnam slipped into negative territory. Market sentiment in the city-state could be more lacklustre ahead of the weekend, said Singapore-based NRA Capital. For Asian Companies click; For South East Asia Hot Stock reports, click; SOUTHEAST ASIAN STOCK MARKETS Change at 0554 GMT Market Current Prev Close Pct Move TR SE Asia Index* 396.21 395.62 +0.15 Singapore 3093.17 3096.74 -0.12 Kuala Lumpur 1833.75 1831.66 +0.11 Bangkok 1320.66 1318.05 +0.20 Jakarta 4596.71 4568.94 +0.61 Manila 6391.21 6354.79 +0.57 Ho Chi Minh 583.51 584.79 -0.22 * 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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