SE Asia Stocks -Thai shares slump as more PM charges loom; Vietnam drops on China dispute

Thu May 8, 2014 3:49am EDT

BANGKOK, May 8 (Reuters) - Thai stocks fell to a near
one-month low on Thursday as investors further cut risk
positions due to concerns that ousted Prime Minister Yingluck
Shinawatra may face charges over a rice subsidy scheme, while
Vietnam fell the most in nearly 13 years.
    Bangkok saw more sell-offs in large caps, led by
telecommunications company Advanced Info Service and
Kasikornbank, sending Thai key SET index down
1.4 percent at 1,382, the lowest since April 11.
    Thailand's National Anti-Corruption Commission (NACC) may
decide on Thursday whether to pursue charges against Yingluck
that could see her banned from politics, ending any hopes she
may have of staging an electoral comeback. 
    "An NACC ruling against Yingluck today could lead to a
political vacuum as it would wipe out the existing caretaker
Cabinet. This would delay an economic recovery from expectations
of the second half of 2014 to next year," said broker Krungsri
Securities.
    Technically, the index's fall below a key 1,400 level points
to a downside risk of the SET to hit 1,380, it said.
    Foreign investors sold a net 2.0 billion baht ($61.8
million) in stocks on Wednesday, their largest daily selling
since March 14, after a Thai court ordered Yingluck to step down
after finding her guilty of abuse of power. 
    Consumer confidence in Thailand fell to its lowest in over
12 years in April due to a protracted political crisis.
 
    April's weak consumer confidence "just goes to show that
consumption demand remains weak in the economy. Sentiment is
probably still affected by the ongoing political stalemate,"
said Singapore-based economist Gundy Cahyadi of DBS Group
Research.
    In Hanoi, the benchmark VN index fell nearly 6
percent, Asia's worst performing bourse, as tension mounted
between China and Vietnam in the South China Sea.
 
    Other share markets in the region were broadly range-bound,
with investors content to stay on the sidelines ahead of the
meeting of central banks of Indonesia, the Philippines and
Malaysia seen holding their policy interest rates unchanged.
   

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SOUTHEAST ASIAN STOCK MARKETS
 Change at 0742 GMT
 Market             Current     Prev Close    Pct Move
 TR SE Asia Index*   416.95        418.41       -0.35
 Singapore          3247.44       3236.43       +0.34
 Kuala Lumpur       1861.69       1860.43       +0.07
 Bangkok            1382.70       1402.61       -1.42
 Jakarta            4857.40       4862.07       -0.10
 Manila             6768.18       6748.51       +0.29
 Ho Chi Minh         526.51        559.97       -5.98
 
* 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; Additional reporting by Mai
Nguyen in HANOI; Editing by Anand Basu)
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