SE Asia Stocks-Thai shares set for worst weekly loss since Jan; Philippine up after S&P upgrade

Fri May 9, 2014 4:22am EDT

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BANGKOK, May 9 (Reuters) - Thai shares eased on Friday,
heading for the worst weekly loss in 19 weeks, as protesters
marched across the capital to bring down a caretaker government
while the Philippine index hit an 11-month high after a Standard
& Poor's upgrade.
    After heavy selloffs this week that wiped out more than
three percent of the main Thai SET index, investors were
mostly cautious amid signs of escalation in political violence
adding to the risk in the economy.
    The SET index fell 0.4 percent, led by shares of PTT Pcl
 and Kasikornbank.
    Thai police fired teargas on Friday at royalist protesters
bent on bringing down a caretaker government after a court threw
Prime Minister Yingluck Shinawatra out of office and an
anti-graft agency indicted her for negligence. 
    The outcome was widely expected but any escalation in
violence would be bad for the market, said Eric Choe, portfolio
manger of Fidelity's Thailand Fund in Singapore.
    "The most likely scenario is a continuation of the protests
and occasional violence we have seen over the past few months
... However, the market is likely to react positively if the
political situation is resolved," he said.
    "Regardless of which party comes into power, we can still
expect some sort of stimulus measure, and I am currently looking
for ways to invest in this theme," the fund manager said.
    Yingluck's Puea Thai Party still runs the interim government
and is hoping to organise a July 20 election that it would
probably win.
    Philippine shares climbed 1.2 percent to their
highest since June, on track for the seventh straight week of
gain, after Standard & Poor's surprise upgrade of the country's
credit ratings.
    Standard & Poor's raised the Philippines' credit rating to
two notches above investment grade on Thursday, the first debt
watcher to do so, saying reforms are likely to continue beyond
the administration of President Benigno Aquino. 
    Vietnam was an outperformer on the day, with the benchmark
VN Index up nearly 3 percent after losing the most in a
day since October 2001 in the previous session, as investors
picked up cheap shares on expectations of a stable relationship
with China. 
        
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SOUTHEAST ASIAN STOCK MARKETS
 Change at 0739 GMT
 Market             Current     Prev Close    Pct Move
 TR SE Asia Index*   418.50        417.95       +0.13
 Singapore          3251.54       3247.69       +0.12
 Kuala Lumpur       1863.58       1862.84       +0.04
 Bangkok            1372.83       1379.02       -0.45
 Jakarta            4879.46       4860.89       +0.38
 Manila             6847.26       6765.21       +1.21 
 Ho Chi Minh         542.56        527.09       +2.93
 
* 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 Anupama Dwivedi)
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