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SE Asia Stocks-Rangebound ahead of U.S. jobs report; Indonesia lags on valuation
April 4, 2014 / 5:56 AM / 4 years ago

SE Asia Stocks-Rangebound ahead of U.S. jobs report; Indonesia lags on valuation

BANGKOK, April 4 (Reuters) - Most Southeast Asian stock
markets were rangebound on Friday ahead of the U.S. jobs report,
with Indonesian shares sliding as investors cashed in on
rallying banking shares, while the Philippines weakened after a
lower-than-expected inflation.
    After a rally this week that sent Jakarta's Composite Index
 to a near 10-month high on Thursday, investors remained
on the sidelines due to high valuations.
    The benchmark was down almost 1 percent by midday, trimming
its gain so far on the week to 1.7 percent. Banking shares that
have outperformed the market such as Bank Mandiri and
Bank Rakyat Indonesia led among losers.
    The Indonesian market, having risen 14 percent year to date
in absolute terms, is no longer cheap given a 2014 forecast
price to earnings of 18.3 times, said Jakarta-based Harry Su,
head of research of Bahana Securities.
    "We think investors will have to go back to fundamentals and
pay closer attention to growth rather than sentiment. We expect
stocks and sectors to be more sensitive to earnings surprises,"
he said.
    The Philippine main index edged down 0.08 percent. It
is set to end the week almost 4 percent higher, the biggest
since September and outpacing others in the region.
    Philippine inflation slowed for the second straight month in
March on lower prices of alcoholic beverages and tobacco and
partly as a pending power tariff hike has yet to be implemented,
allowing policymakers room to keep rates steady for now.
    In Bangkok, the SET index edged up 0.2 percent,
recovering from the loss on Thursday amid technical-led buying.
Top gainers included shares of Kasikornbank and
Bangkok Bank.
    The market focus remained on a planned mass rally by
supporters of the government on Saturday. The Thai market is
shut on Monday for a public holiday.
    "Even though no violence is expected, we believe investors
would turn more cautious in trading today ahead of the long
holiday weekend," strategists at broker Phillip Securities said
in a report.
    Stocks in Singapore and Malaysia traded
nearly flat, both heading to end the week higher. Vietnam 
edged down on the day, on track for a second week of loss.
    Asian markets settled in for a subdued session on Friday as
investors counted down the hours to the U.S. jobs report, while
the euro nursed a grudge after the European Central Bank opened
the door to more aggressive easing, albeit not just yet.
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 Change at 0458 GMT
 Market             Current     Prev Close    Pct Move
 TR SE Asia Index*   414.05        414.08       -0.01
 Singapore          3216.00       3220.06       -0.13
 Kuala Lumpur       1857.49       1855.63       +0.10
 Bangkok            1394.28       1391.22       +0.22
 Jakarta            4848.10       4891.32       -0.88
 Manila             6581.54       6587.08       -0.08
 Ho Chi Minh         588.41        589.44       -0.17
* The Thomson Reuters South East Asia Index is a
highly representative indicator of stocks listed in Indonesia,
Malaysia, the Philippines, Singapore, Thailand and Vietnam.   

 (Reporting by Viparat Jantraprap; Editing by Anand Basu)

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