BANGKOK, March 24 Thai stocks closed at their
two-week lows on Monday amid rising political tensions and
selling led by domestic investors, while the Singapore index
posted its best gain in six months amid buying in recently
battered banking and property shares.
The Thai SET index closed 0.78 percent lower at
1,349.90, its lowest finish since March 10. Consumer and
tourism-related shares such as Charoen Pokphand Foods
and Airport of Thailand were among the top percentage
The baht bucked the regional trend and fell on
renewed worries about political unrest after the constitutional
court nullified last month's election.
The move increased downside risks to Thailand's economic
growth outlook and heightened the risks of more widespread and
violent protest by anti- and pro-government groups, Moody's
Investors Service said.
"This development is credit negative for Thailand (Baa1,
stable) because the four-month old political crisis could spill
over into the second half of this year," the rating agency said
in a report.
Anti-government demonstrators in Thailand resumed street
protests on Monday after lying low for weeks, piling pressure on
increasingly beleaguered Prime Minister Yingluck Shinawatra, who
is expected to face impeachment within days.
Domestic institutions and retail investors were net sellers
of Thai shares for a combined 1.35 billion baht ($41.70
million), while foreign investors were net buyers of 941 million
baht ($29 million), their first in three sessions, Thomson
Reuters data showed.
Singapore was the bright spot, with the key Straits Times
Index climbing 1.25 percent, its biggest one-day rise
since Sept. 19. DBS Group Holdings and Hongkong Land
Holdings led gainers.
Shares of banks and property firms have been badly hit due
to selling related to concerns about the weak outlook in China.
"The risk is not as bad as people feel and probably the
recent selling due to concerns about China could be overdone...
The buying today should be a combination of short covering on
banking stocks and fresh buying or bottom fishing on banking and
property shares," said an analyst with UOB Kay Hian Research in
Stocks in Malaysia rose to their highest in more
than two weeks, the Philippines ended three sessions of
falls, and Indonesia eked out gains for a second session
amid foreign investors-led buying.
Stock exchange and Thomson Reuters data showed net foreign
buying of 186 million ringgits ($56.22 million) of Malaysian
shares, 307 million pesos ($6.78 million) of the Philippines and
268 billion rupiahs ($23.5 million) of Indonesia.
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SOUTHEAST ASIAN STOCK MARKETS
Change on day
Market Current Prev Close Pct Move
TR SE Asia Index* 402.06 400.06 +0.50
Singapore 3111.83 3073.39 +1.25
Kuala Lumpur 1833.85 1820.48 +0.73
Bangkok 1349.90 1360.50 -0.78
Jakarta 4720.42 4700.21 +0.43
Manila 6400.67 6339.26 +0.97
Ho Chi Minh 607.55 601.75 +0.96
Change on year
Market Current End 2013 Pct Move
TR SE Asia Index* 402.06 388.37 +3.52
Singapore 3111.83 3167.43 -1.76
Kuala Lumpur 1833.85 1866.96 -1.77
Bangkok 1349.90 1298.71 +3.94
Jakarta 4720.42 4274.18 +10.44
Manila 6400.67 5889.83 +8.67
Ho Chi Minh 607.55 504.63 +20.40
* The Thomson Reuters South East Asia Index is a
highly representative indicator of stocks listed in Indonesia,
Malaysia, the Philippines, Singapore, Thailand and Vietnam.
($1 = 3.3085 Malaysian Ringgits)
($1 = 45.3000 Philippine Pesos)
($1 = 11422.5000 Indonesian Rupiahs)
($1 = 32.3725 Thai Baht)
(Reporting by Viparat Jantraprap; Editing by Subhranshu Sahu)