BANGKOK, Feb 28 Most Southeast Asian stocks
pushed higher on Friday, with Indonesia poised for a third
straight month of gains while Thai shares edged cautiously
higher amid lingering political uncertainty.
Jakarta's Composite Index was up 0.6 percent at
4,596.71. Astra International, the country's biggest
firm by value, jumped 3 percent, extending a rise from the
previous session following its 2013 earnings announcement.
Optimism about Indonesia's trade data, due on Monday, is
supportive, said Jakarta-based Trimegah Securities.
"We expect market to move further up on the back of trade
deficit expectation starting to move from deficit towards
surplus," the broker said in a report.
Indonesian shares have notched up about 4 percent so far
this month to Friday alongside a rise in the rupiah and
foreign inflows. Net foreign buying this month up to Thursday
was about $620 million, according to Thomson Reuters data
Shares of companies that stand to benefit from a rising
rupiah were among the monthly outperformers, including Japfa
Comfeed Indonesia, which is up 17 percent
Stocks in Thailand extended gains from the previous session
after anti-government protest leader Suthep Thaugsuban proposed
a live television debate with Prime Minister Yingluck Shinawatra
to defuse the domestic crisis.
But brokers said market participants remained wary and were
not willing to bet on the outcome of this move.
"We believe the chance is very slim that negotiations will
become successful in light of the preconditions for talks
proposed by both sides ... domestic political developments still
need close monitoring," Phillip Securities said in a report.
The SET index edged up 0.2 percent at midday, with
dividend-yielding shares such as Siam Cement among
those actively traded.
Politically-sensitive stocks were broadly weak, including
Advanced Info Service and SC Asset Corporation
amid calls by protesters to boycott businesses linked to Prime
Minister Yingluck Shinawatra.
Malaysia and the Philippines posted modest
gains while Singapore and Vietnam slipped into
Market sentiment in the city-state could be more lacklustre
ahead of the weekend, said Singapore-based NRA Capital.
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SOUTHEAST ASIAN STOCK MARKETS
Change at 0554 GMT
Market Current Prev Close Pct Move
TR SE Asia Index* 396.21 395.62 +0.15
Singapore 3093.17 3096.74 -0.12
Kuala Lumpur 1833.75 1831.66 +0.11
Bangkok 1320.66 1318.05 +0.20
Jakarta 4596.71 4568.94 +0.61
Manila 6391.21 6354.79 +0.57
Ho Chi Minh 583.51 584.79 -0.22
* The Thomson Reuters South East Asia Index is a
highly representative indicator of stocks listed in Indonesia,
Malaysia, the Philippines, Singapore, Thailand and Vietnam.