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SE Asia Stocks-Mostly firm; Thai shares recover, but caution persists
January 23, 2014 / 7:40 AM / 4 years ago

SE Asia Stocks-Mostly firm; Thai shares recover, but caution persists

Jan 23 (Reuters) - Thai shares recovered on Thursday from
the previous session's one-week closing low, but foreign
investors reduced their exposure to the country's risky assets
due to the politically volatile situation, while other markets
were mostly firmer. 
    The Thai SET index was up 0.6 percent by midday led
by energy and bank shares, gaining from its lowest close since
Jan. 15, hit on Wednesday. 
    "There was no violence and we expect the market to move
sideways until there is a clear picture on the political
situation," said Pichai Lertsupongkij, a senior analyst at
broker Thanachart Securities.
    "We see foreign investors reducing their exposure. If the
violence erupts again that will hit sentiment," he said. 
    The Thai government declared a 60-day state of emergency
from Wednesday hoping to prevent an escalation in protests, now
in their third month. That decree will face a fresh test on
Thursday when popular anti-government firebrand Suthep
Thaugsuban leads a march through the capital Bangkok.
    Foreign investors sold a net $101.97 million worth of shares
in three sessions this week through Wednesday, extending the
offshore outflow to $221.4 million in the last seven sessions.
    The Philippines index was up 0.6 percent led by a 3.8
percent gain in BDO Unibank Inc and traded at a
more-than-seven-week high on positive sentiment after the IMF
raised the country's growth forecast.  
    Cautious investors are awaiting directions from the U.S.
Federal Reserve, which some market players expect to further
trim its bond buying next week even as Chinese manufacturing
data pointed to a mild slowdown in the new year. 
    Vietnam's benchmark VN Index was up 0.7 percent on a
slight rebound in blue-chips after a bout of selling, with more
gains expected next month, while the Jakarta Composite index
 was 0.3 percent firmer, trading at its highest level
since Nov. 7.
    Bucking the trend, Singapore shares underperformed
the region with a 1 percent loss, while Malaysia was
down 0.3 percent. 
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 Change at 0704 GMT
 Market             Current     Prev Close    Pct Move
 TR SE Asia Index*   383.88        385.16       -0.33
 Singapore          3102.45       3133.74       -1.00
 Kuala Lumpur       1808.23       1814.10       -0.32
 Bangkok            1298.10       1290.49       +0.59
 Jakarta            4487.40       4477.49       +0.24
 Manila             6175.69       6139.86       +0.58
 Ho Chi Minh         556.32        551.92       +0.80

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