BANGKOK/JAKARTA Jan 18 Indonesia's stock index
climbed another record high on Friday, as investors bought
consumer stocks such as PT Astra International Tbk after record
auto sales in 2012 showed domestic demand will continue to drive
The index finished up 1.5 percent at a high of
4,465.48, topping the previous peak close hit on Jan. 7. For the
week, the index was up 3.7 percent, the biggest weekly gain for
the market since December 2011.
Astra, which is the country's largest listed firm
and top auto distributor, has long been a favourite of foreign
fund investors as a proxy to Indonesia's consumer sector. On
Friday, the stock posted its biggest gain in two weeks on
Friday, moving up 3.3 percent.
Indonesian auto sales surged 25 percent in 2012 and look set
to keep growing strongly this year as sharply rising wages and
low interest rates encourage more consumers to swap two wheels
Banks, also a popular play on consumer demand, led active
trade, with the world's biggest microlender PT Bank Rakyat
Indonesia Persero Tbk up 1.3 percent and top consumer
lender PT Bank Central Asia surging 3.8 percent. State
telecom firm PT Telekomunikasi Indonesia rose 2.6
The gains came as traders returned to their desks after
heavy flooding in the Indonesian capital on Thursday that turned
the main thoroughfare into a waist-deep river, killed six people
and left thousands homeless.
"Despite Jakarta being flooded, the stock market can remain
above water," said Gundy Cahyadi, an economist at OCBC Bank in
Citigroup said the Jakarta flood's impact on banks will be
limited as the waters had not affected industrial areas. Astra's
factories were untouched, it said.
Indonesia's central bank said it saw the weather disrupting
food distribution, which in turn was likely to push up inflation
this month. However, officials said rain across the country had
not damaged key crops such as palm oil. The listed palm oil firm
with the biggest market capitalisation, Astra Agro Lestari
, gained 0.8 percent on Friday.
(Reporting by Viparat Jantraprap in Bangkok and Neil Chatterjee
in Jakarta; Editing by Richard Borsuk)