SE Asia Stocks-Most up on US manufacturing data; Jakarta at 5-month high
Feb 21 (Reuters) - Most Southeast Asian stocks rose on Friday, with Indonesia hitting a five-month high, as upbeat U.S. manufacturing activity numbers helped boost appetite for risky assets, but concerns about China's economic growth kept investors from rushing to buy some emerging market shares. The Jakarta Composite Index rose 0.7 percent by midday to its highest level since Sept. 20, led by financial and infrastructure shares, with both sub-sectors touching five-month highs. "We continue to suggest buy on weakness on market as we remain bullish on long-term outlook," Trimegah Securities said in a note. Investors were upbeat after an industry report on Thursday showed manufacturing activity in the United States accelerated in February at its fastest pace in nearly four years due in part to growth in new orders. However, concerns about China's slowing growth dented sentiment. Singapore's benchmark Straits Times Index rose 0.6 percent to a one-month high and was headed for the strongest weekly gain in five months. The city-state's economy grew faster than expected in the fourth quarter of 2013. "However, there could be a cap on the upside as the Singapore budget, to be announced this afternoon, may still have some surprises especially on the personal income tax front," Singapore-based NetResearch Asia said in research note. "We do not expect curbs on property investment to be lifted yet." Genting Singapore Plc shares were down 3.6 percent by 0542 GMT, after the casino operator reported a 32 percent slump in fourth-quarter adjusted earnings before interest, tax, depreciation and amortisation. Vietnam's VN Index edged up 0.1 percent as sentiment was positive after solid bargain-buying by foreign investors in the previous session. Shares in Malaysia and Thailand were steady. In Bangkok, shares of companies with links to Prime Minister Yingluck Shinawatra declined. Property developer SC Asset Corp lost 1.9 percent, while telecom company M Link Asia Corp shares were down 2.6 percent, as anti-government protesters turned to social media to attack businesses linked to her family on Thursday. Foreign investors have sold about $984 million worth of shares on a net basis in 19 straight sessions through Thursday, Reuters data showed. Bucking the trend, Philippines shares fell 0.7 percent, snapping a five-session gaining streak and down from a near 3-1/2 month closing high in the previous session. For Asian Companies click; For South East Asia Hot Stock reports, click; SOUTHEAST ASIAN STOCK MARKETS Change at 0555 GMT Market Current Prev Close Pct Move TR SE Asia Index* 394.40 393.06 +0.34 Singapore 3104.84 3086.64 +0.59 Kuala Lumpur 1828.35 1827.81 +0.03 Bangkok 1303.68 1303.98 -0.02 Jakarta 4631.25 4598.22 +0.72 Manila 6308.37 6352.76 -0.70 Ho Chi Minh 571.74 571.04 +0.12 * 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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