SE Asia Stocks-Most up on US jobs data; Thai index near 3-mo high
March 7 (Reuters) - Most Southeast Asian stock markets rose on Friday with the Thai index near a three-month high helped by better-than-expected jobless claims data in the United States, but gains were capped as investors awaited the U.S. non-farm payrolls report later in the day. Thailand's SET index was up 0.2 percent by midday after touching 1,358.00, its highest since Dec. 12, buoyed by a net foreign inflow of $200 million in the past five sessions through Thursday. While political unrest in the country is yet to end, some analysts believe the worst of the street politics is behind them. Investors have been looking beyond the political stalemate, Kasem Prunratanamala, head of research at CIMB Securities in Bangkok, said. Credit Suisse in its latest report said energy and tourism-related stocks could buck the political trend and outperform the overall market. Weekly applications for U.S. unemployment insurance fell to its lowest in three months, a sign of strength in a labour market that has been hobbled by severe weather, but new orders for U.S. factory goods fell more than expected in January. The U.S. employment number for February, due later in the day, will be the key variable, Maybank Kim Eng Securities said. Singapore's share index was up 0.2 percent, gaining for a fourth straight session and trading at over-six-week highs, and poised for a fourth straight weekly gain. The Jakarta Composite Index was up 0.2 percent, trading at it highest in over five months, while Vietnam's benchmark VN Index was up 0.5 percent at the break, led by the banking sector. Bucking the trend, the Philippines fell 0.4 percent and Malaysia was 0.3 percent weaker, a day after the country's central bank held its key interest rate steady, as expected. . For Asian Companies click; For South East Asia Hot Stock reports, click; SOUTHEAST ASIAN STOCK MARKETS Change at 0655 GMT Market Current Prev Close Pct Move TR SE Asia Index* 405.08 404.40 +0.17 Singapore 3136.11 3129.17 +0.22 Kuala Lumpur 1833.71 1838.69 -0.27 Bangkok 1354.99 1352.21 +0.21 Jakarta 4696.60 4687.86 +0.19 Manila 6491.47 6516.82 -0.39 Ho Chi Minh 580.93 578.56 +0.41 * 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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