SE Asia Stocks-Indonesia at 2-wk high ahead of trade, inflation data

Mon Mar 31, 2014 11:59pm EDT

BANGKOK, April 1 (Reuters) - Indonesian shares rose almost 2
percent on Tuesday ahead of trade and inflation data, with
investors building positions in banks and large-caps while the
Thai index trimmed gains as Siam Cement and Shin Corp
 traded ex-dividend.
    Jakarta's Composite Index rose to 4,856.33, the
highest since March 18, amid active buying in shares of Bank
Mandiri, Bank Rakyat Indonesia and Astra
International.
    Indonesia's trade balance is expected to have reverted to a
modest surplus in February on a recovery in commodity prices,
while inflation in March may have eased due to moderating food
prices, a Reuters poll showed. 
    "We believe a surplus trade balance will be positive for
domestic cyclicals, particularly banks," broker Trimegah
Securities said in a daily strategy note.
    The Thai SET index edged up 0.03 percent at 1,376.74
amid selective buying in shares of major banks such as Bangkok
Bank while industrial conglomerate Siam Cement and
telecoms group Shin Corporation were among the top losers.
    The market is expected to be range-bound, trading at
1,370-1,380 amid an investigation into alleged corruption in the
government's rice pledging scheme, according to strategists at
broker Maybank Kim Eng Securities.
    Thai Prime Minister Yingluck Shinawatra on Monday defended
herself against negligence charges linked to a ruinous
government rice pledging scheme that could lead to her removal
from office. 
    Thailand will announce its March inflation data, expected to
rise slightly to 2.2 percent, the highest since last June, 
around 0400 GMT. 
    Stocks in the region traded mixed in a narrow band, with
Singapore up 0.4 percent while Malaysia and
Vietnam fell into negative territory as MSCI's broadest
index of Asia-Pacific shares outside Japan rose
slightly by 0.3 percent. 
    Sentiment in Asian shares was positive after China's
official PMI survey showed manufacturing managed to continue
expanding in March, and dovish comments from Federal Reserve
Chair Janet Yellen.  
    
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SOUTHEAST ASIAN STOCK MARKETS
 Change at 0338 GMT
 Market             Current     Prev Close    Pct Move
 TR SE Asia Index*   411.45        409.08       +0.58
 Singapore          3200.47       3188.62       +0.37
 Kuala Lumpur       1843.30       1849.21       -0.32
 Bangkok            1376.74       1376.26       +0.03
 Jakarta            4856.33       4768.28       +1.87
 Manila             6482.49       6428.71       +0.84
 Ho Chi Minh         588.72        591.57       -0.48
 
* The Thomson Reuters South East Asia Index is a
highly representative indicator of stocks listed in Indonesia,
Malaysia, the Philippines, Singapore, Thailand and Vietnam. 

 (Reporting by Viparat Jantraprap; Editing by Sunil Nair)