SE Asia Stocks-Retreat; Indonesia rate decision in focus
BANGKOK, Feb 13 (Reuters) - Most Southeast Asian stocks retreated on Thursday as investors booked profits after recent gains, with interest rate-sensitive stocks weaker in Indonesia ahead of a policy rate review while Thailand fell amid political risks, ahead of a market holiday. Jakarta's Composite Index was a tad lower, inching down 0.15 percent at midday, with banking shares and property stocks trading weaker after gains early in the week. Indonesia's central bank is expected to keep its benchmark reference rate on hold at its policy meeting later on Thursday, as the country's large current account deficit is narrowing on lower imports, a Reuters poll showed. A recent set of positive economic data, including trade account surplus in December and better-than-expected fourth quarter economic growth have lifted market sentiment, taking a year-to-date gain in Indonesian shares to around 5 percent, among Asia's outperformers.In Bangkok, the main SET index edged down 0.3 percent at midday, reversing from a near three-week closing high to above the 1,300 level hit in the previous session. The index is set to end the week more than 1 percent higher. Players trimmed risky holdings ahead of a public holiday on Friday in the wake of anti-government protests, an inconclusive Feb. 2 poll and growing protests by farmers. Shares of airport operator Airports of Thailand fell 1.1 percent and carrier Thai Airways International dropped 2.1 percent amid concerns about the impact of an emergency decree on the tourism industry and earnings, brokers said. Malaysia eased 0.3 percent after six sessions of gains while the Philippines was down 0.2 percent, shedding some of gains from the past five sessions. Stocks in Singapore bucked the trend, rising 0.4 percent, as shares in Singapore Telecommunications Ltd rose almost 2 percent after its quarterly earnings came in above forecasts. Vietnam's benchmark VN Index was up 0.61 percent, backed by positive sentiment following strong gains in the previous session. For Asian Companies click; For South East Asia Hot Stock reports, click; SOUTHEAST ASIAN STOCK MARKETS Change at 0537 GMT Market Current Prev Close Pct Move TR SE Asia Index* 386.47 387.23 -0.20 Singapore 3046.53 3035.45 +0.37 Kuala Lumpur 1820.02 1825.64 -0.31 Bangkok 1310.75 1314.06 -0.25 Jakarta 4489.51 4496.29 -0.15 Manila 6101.62 6112.31 -0.17 Ho Chi Minh 567.68 564.25 +0.61
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