BANGKOK, March 17 Most Southeast Asian stocks
were range-bound on Monday, with Indonesia extending gains amid
optimism around the presidential election, while Thai shares
retreated after having risen last week on expectations of a
possible lifting of the emergency.
Indonesia's main share index rose 0.2 percent to
4,888.41, the highest since June 10. Shares related to the
domestic economy such as Semen Indonesia and Astra
International were actively bought.
The index jumped 3.2 percent on Friday after main opposition
PDI-P party named Jakarta Governor Joko Widodo as its
presidential candidate, widely seen as a shoo-in to be next
leader of the world's third-largest democracy.
Investors were hopeful the election for parliament in April
and the presidential vote in July would run smoothly, brokers
"With the formal nomination of Jokowi as presidential
candidate, we believe that market confidence will remain
buoyant. This will encourage foreign inflows. This, in turn,
would help lift the index higher," brokerage Danareksa said in a
report. Its 2014 index target is 4,940.
The Thai key SET index was down 0.2 percent,
trimming some of last week's 1.3 percent gain. Selling hit
recent gainers such as shares of airport operator Airports of
Thailand and hotelier Minor International.
The cabinet meeting on Tuesday was expected to end the
imposition of emergency decree when it expires on March 22,
which boosted tourism-related stocks last week.
The market would also focus on the constitution court which
will hear the February election case on March 19 and it is
possible that the court will announce a ruling, brokers said.
"We think if the constitutional court decides to annul the
election, it could be a starting point for both sides to hold
negotiations to end the crisis. This could be positive for the
market as it should ease the key concern for investors," Maybank
Kim Eng said in a report.
In Manila, the main index eased 0.1 percent, led down
by an almost 3 percent loss in shares of Manila Electric
after it said net income for 2013 was almost flat.
Manila Electric was last trading down 0.3 percent.
Singapore shares snapped a three-day losing streak,
buoyed by positive trade data, while the broader Asian market
remained nervous over rising tensions in Ukraine.
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SOUTHEAST ASIAN STOCK MARKETS
Change at 0450 GMT
Market Current Prev Close Pct Move
TR SE Asia Index* 406.15 405.14 +0.25
Singapore 3079.84 3073.72 +0.20
Kuala Lumpur 1809.05 1805.12 +0.22
Bangkok 1369.94 1372.18 -0.16
Jakarta 4888.41 4878.64 +0.20
Manila 6382.90 6391.24 -0.13
Ho Chi Minh 600.39 596.83 +0.60
* The Thomson Reuters South East Asia Index is a
highly representative indicator of stocks listed in Indonesia,
Malaysia, the Philippines, Singapore, Thailand and Vietnam.