SE Asia Stocks -Thai stocks hit near 4-week lows before court ruling on PM

Wed May 7, 2014 1:01am EDT

BANGKOK, May 7 (Reuters) - Thai stocks touched their lowest
in nearly four weeks on Wednesday as large caps were hit ahead
of a court ruling on Prime Minister Yingluck Shinawatra, while
shares in Malaysia trimmed losses after March exports growth
came in line with expectations.
    The Thai SET index was down 0.35 percent at 1,399.03
after hitting a low of 1,388.29, its lowest since April 11, and
extending the 1.2 percent drop in the previous session.
    PTT, Advanced Info Service, PTT
Exploration and Production and Siam Commercial Bank
, which make up almost a third of the benchmark, led
losers.
    Domestic political factors are expected to dominate market
sentiment through the day, brokers said.
    The Constitutional Court will rule on Wednesday whether to
remove the prime minister from office for abuse of power, with
an expected guilty verdict likely to bring her supporters into
the street and plunge the country into a political vacuum.
 
    "Our baseline scenario remains that the caretaker Prime
Minister will be hit but other cabinet members stay on. We see a
possibility of the market rising following the ruling but still
have to monitor whether there is any strong response from the
pro-government side," strategists at KGI Securities wrote in a
report.
    In Kuala Lumpur, the key share index was down 0.07
percent, led by banking and consumer-related stocks such as
Genting Malaysia and AMMB Holdings.
    Malaysia's exports in March rose by 8.4 percent from a year
earlier, in line with expectations, and the trade surplus that
month was significantly higher than expected, data showed on
Wednesday. 
    Other markets in the region were mostly weak while Asian
stocks fell as the heightened possibility of Ukraine slipping
into civil war dampened risk sentiment. MSCI's broadest index of
Asia-Pacific shares outside Japan was down 0.76
percent. 
        
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SOUTHEAST ASIAN STOCK MARKETS
 Change at 0430 GMT
 Market             Current     Prev Close    Pct Move
 TR SE Asia Index*   418.01        418.92       -0.22
 Singapore          3230.43       3245.56       -0.47
 Kuala Lumpur       1859.10       1860.43       -0.07
 Bangkok            1399.03       1404.01       -0.35
 Jakarta            4844.66       4834.47       +0.21
 Manila             6757.45       6765.93       -0.13
 Ho Chi Minh         560.10        555.11       +0.90
 
* 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 Subhranshu Sahu)
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