SE Asia Stocks-Mostly down as Chinese flash PMI weighs
Feb 20 (Reuters) - Most Southeast Asian stocks eased on Thursday after a survey on China's manufacturing sector heightened concerns about the world's second largest economy, while Thai shares fell on continued political unrest. Activity in China's factories shrank again in February, hitting a seven-month low as employment fell at its fastest pace in five years, a preliminary private survey showed on Thursday. Morgan Stanley in a research note said a China slowdown exerts collateral impact on commodity prices and it will "affect terms-of-trade for commodity exporters such as Indonesia and Malaysia." Thailand's SET index was down 1.1 percent by midday to a one-week low, led by a 2.8 percent fall in Advanced Info Services PCL and a 1.4 percent loss in top energy firm PTT PCL. Investors have been cautious over Thailand's risky assets on continuing political unrest. Foreign investors have sold a net $930 million in the last 18 straight sessions through Wednesday, Reuters data showed. Shares in property developer SC Asset Corp, in which Prime Minister Yingluck Shinawatra's family owns a large stake, fell 5 percent after protesters said they would target businesses linked to the family. Shares in Jakarta fell 0.2 percent from a near four-month closing high hit in the previous session. "After strong foreign flows into the market recently, supported by good macroeconomic data, local investors are taking profit today in small-cap shares," said John Teja, director of Jakarta-based broker Ciptadana Securities. Outperforming the market, banking shares traded at a five-month high, which analysts attributed to better earnings in the December quarter. Malaysia's stock index was down 0.2 percent by midday, while Singapore shares hit a one-month high on positive economic growth data, but then eased following the disappointing Chinese factory data. Vietnam's benchmark VN Index was 0.4 percent weaker as profit-taking in most small-cap shares erased gains in banks and some big-caps. Bucking the regional trend, Philippine stocks rose 0.9 percent, to a three-month high led by holding firms. "Market sentiment has turned positive amid positive earnings results and company guidance," DA Market Securities said in a note. For Asian Companies click; For South East Asia Hot Stock reports, click; SOUTHEAST ASIAN STOCK MARKETS Change at 0642 GMT Market Current Prev Close Pct Move TR SE Asia Index* 393.21 395.19 -0.50 Singapore 3084.83 3088.79 -0.13 Kuala Lumpur 1825.55 1829.45 -0.21 Bangkok 1306.22 1321.00 -1.12 Jakarta 4579.96 4592.65 -0.28 Manila 6352.65 6294.62 +0.92 Ho Chi Minh 575.63 578.12 -0.43 * The Thomson Reuters South East Asia Index is a highly representative indicator of stocks listed in Indonesia, Malaysia, the Philippines, Singapore, Thailand and Vietnam.
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