March 24, 2016 / 5:10 AM / 2 years ago

SE Asia Stocks-Most retreat; Singapore falls ahead of budget

BANGKOK, March 24 (Reuters) - Most Southeast Asian stock
markets retreated on Thursday, with Singapore hitting a more
than one-week low ahead of budget while a stronger dollar capped
risk appetite in the region.
    The key Straits Times Index fell 1 percent to
2,852.05, its lowest since March 16, after a marginal gain on
    Singapore's 2016-17 budget is expected to lend a hand to
businesses affected by an economic slowdown, in a possible shift
in emphasis after focusing in recent years on areas such as
social safety nets. The budget speech is due out at 0730 GMT.
    Investors appeared content to stay on the sidelines ahead of
the long Easter holiday weekend.
    Broker NRA Capital said in a report that the budget "is not
expected to hold major surprises though there remains hopes
there will be goodies to help SMEs tide over the expected
downturn this year."
    In Bangkok, the benchmark SET index edged down 0.2
percent to 1,410.12, after five straight session of gains.
Energy shares such as PTT Exploration and Production 
declined in line with weak global oil prices. 
    Stocks in Malaysia extended their weaknesses on the
day before while Indonesia traded lower for a fourth
session ahead of a public holiday on Friday. The Philippine
stock market was closed on Thursday through Friday.
    Bucking the trend, Vietnam eked out small gains for a
second day, adding 0.3 percent.
    In Asia, the dollar advanced for a fifth straight session,
pressuring commodities and Asian shares after yet another
Federal Reserve official talked up the chance of more than one
increase in U.S. interest rate this year. 
For Asian Companies click;  

 Change at 0443 GMT
 Market             Current     Prev Close    Pct Move
 Singapore          2852.05       2881.98       -1.04
 Kuala Lumpur       1715.71       1724.55       -0.51
 Bangkok            1410.12       1412.16       -0.18
 Jakarta            4833.48       4854.18       -0.43
 Ho Chi Minh         575.43        574.71       +0.13
 (Reporting by Viparat Jantraprap; Editing by Subhranshu Sahu)
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