January 15, 2014 / 6:16 AM / in 4 years

SE Asia Stocks-Thai shares down amid political tension; Indonesia at 2-mth high

BANGKOK, Jan 15 (Reuters) - Thai stocks retreated on
Wednesday as investors locked in quick profits amid
anti-government protests in Bangkok and uncertainty over the
Feb. 2 poll, while Indonesian shares hit their two-month high
with mining companies leading the pack.
    The Thai SET index was down 0.3 percent in moderate
trading volume at 0530 GMT after gaining 3.2 percent over the
past two sessions, with mobile phone operator Advanced Info
Service Pcl falling back after two straight sessions
of rises.
    Brokers expect profit-taking to cap the index from breaking
above 1,300, with pressure building on the caretaker government
to call off the Feb. 2 election and step down.
    Prime Minister Yingluck Shinawatra invited protest leaders
and political parties to a meeting on Wednesday morning to
discuss an Election Commission proposal to postpone the election
until May.  
    A meeting of the National Anti-Corruption Commission on
Thursday, where it is set to bring formal charges against those
involved in alleged corruption in the controversial
rice-pledging scheme, including Yingluck, is also on focus.
    "There is a possibility that the SET will slump again, if
the political tension does not ease in the near term,"
strategists with brokerage Maybank Kim Eng Securities wrote in a
    Indonesia's index climbed 1.3 percent to 4,445.47,
the highest since Nov. 11. Among outperformers, nickel producer
Vale Indonesia jumped as much as 7 percent after the
government halted mineral ore exports in an attempt to promote
processing domestically. 
    Foreign inflows sent Indonesian shares higher by more than 3
percent on Monday. The market was closed on Tuesday. 
    Jakarta-based Trimegah Securities expects short-covering to
further boost the market. "On Monday, foreign investors covered
their short positions... We expect further short-covering today,
but the market is likely to be more mixed for the remainder of
the week," it said in a report.
    Stocks in Singapore, the Philippines and
Vietnam rose in line with MSCI's broadest index of
Asia-Pacific shares outside Japan, which was up
0.1 percent after the World Bank upgraded its outlook for the
global economy. 
    Bright spots in the region included Malaysia's IOI
Properties Group, which soared in its market debut,
and Indonesian sharia lender PT Bank Panin Syariah,
which rose as much as 5 percent in its trading debut.
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 Change at 0530 GMT    
 Market             Current     Prev Close    Pct Move
 TR SE Asia Index*   386.88        387.75       -0.23
 Singapore          3141.35       3123.75       +0.56
 Kuala Lumpur       1829.73       1834.97       -0.29
 Bangkok            1292.04       1295.87       -0.30
 Jakarta            4445.47       4390.77       +1.25
 Manila             5965.26       5935.56       +0.50
 Ho Chi Minh         525.66        522.31       +0.64
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