SE Asia Stocks-Malaysia up ahead of rate decision; PTT weighs on Thai shares
BANGKOK, March 6 (Reuters) - Southeast Asian stock markets rose on Thursday, with Singapore, Malaysia and Indonesia heading for a third straight day of gains amid easing tensions in Ukraine, while Thai shares trimmed most early rises as large cap PTT traded ex-dividend. Asian shares pushed higher as diplomatic efforts moderated the crisis over Ukraine, with MSCI's broadest index of Asia-Pacific shares outside Japan up 0.7 percent by 0614 GMT. Singapore's key index was up 0.5 percent, hovering around its highest in 1-1/2 months. Indonesia rose 0.2 percent to a near six-month high. Shares of Singapore Telecommunications and Bank Rakyat Indonesia were among the actively traded on the indexes. Malaysia edged up 0.2 percent amid buying in large caps such as Tenaga Nasional ahead of the central bank's interest rate meeting later in the day. Bank Negara is expected to keep its policy interest rate unchanged at 3 percent. The Thai SET index was slightly higher at midday, helped by selective buying in banking stocks, while shares of top energy firm PTT dropped 2.3 percent as they traded ex-dividend. Thai stocks had gained over the past five sessions, helped by short-covering and foreign-led buying. Jitters over the political crisis remained, with the focus on judicial efforts to remove Prime Minister Yingluck Shinawatra, including a dereliction of duty charge brought against her by the National Anti-Corruption Commission (NACC) over the rice pledging scheme. Phillip Securities advised profit-taking around 1,360-1,370. The SET index was at 1,352.37 at midday. "Foreign buying spree continued in Thai stocks, while intraday volatility escalated after several straight sessions of gains and in the absence of fresh catalysts, making the market highly susceptible to profit-taking," the broker said in a note. Moody's Investors Service said that while it saw a negative impact on growth, at this point Thailand's sovereign credit profile was consistent with its Baa1 rating level and stable outlook. In Manila, shares were up 0.9 percent, led by Philippine Long Distance Telephone Co, which jumped almost 2 percent to its highest since Jan. 23 amid positive market views on its 2013 earnings announcement. For Asian Companies click; For South East Asia Hot Stock reports, click; SOUTHEAST ASIAN STOCK MARKETS Change at 0614 GMT Market Current Prev Close Pct Move TR SE Asia Index* 403.23 400.59 +0.66 Singapore 3131.15 3116.64 +0.47 Kuala Lumpur 1832.03 1829.11 +0.16 Bangkok 1352.37 1351.64 +0.05 Jakarta 4669.13 4659.17 +0.21 Manila 6511.04 6456.14 +0.85 Ho Chi Minh 578.34 574.94 +0.59 * 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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