SE Asia Stocks-Firmer; Thai shares rise to 3-month high ahead of rate decision
March 11 (Reuters) - Thai stocks rose on Tuesday to a three-month high ahead of a monetary policy decision by Thailand's central bank while other Southeast Asian markets recovered after most of them eased in the previous session due to weak Chinese export data. The day's trading was strong in volume, but gains were capped by concerns about sluggish economic growth in China and continued tensions over Ukraine. Thailand's main index ended 1.1 percent firmer at its highest close since Dec. 11 on hopes the central bank would cut its benchmark interest rate by 25 basis points on Wednesday to help the economy cope with damage from months of political unrest. The stock market, which saw a foreign funds inflow of $7.77 million on Tuesday, may gain further as Thailand is expected to lift a state of emergency in capital Bangkok due to pressure from businesses and in the light of improving security. Morgan Stanley, after the market closed on Tuesday, downgraded Thailand to "underweight" from "equalweight," citing sluggish economic growth and prolonged political instability. Philippine shares closed 0.7 percent higher, with foreign investors buying a net $30.7 million worth, while Malaysia gained 0.4 percent, with $22.1 million foreign inflows. Singapore's benchmark Straits Times index ended 0.1 percent up after touching a near two-month high in early trade. The Jakarta Composite Index ended 0.6 firmer at a near eight-month closing high, despite foreign investors selling a net $9.27 million in shares. Vietnam's benchmark VN Index ended up 0.8 percent, its fifth consecutive gain. For Asian Companies click; For South East Asia Hot Stock reports, click; SOUTHEAST ASIAN STOCK MARKETS Change on day Market Current Prev Close Pct Move TR SE Asia Index* 404.62 402.38 +0.56 Singapore 3129.40 3126.63 +0.09 Kuala Lumpur 1828.55 1822.06 +0.36 Bangkok 1364.28 1349.05 +1.13 Jakarta 4704.21 4677.25 +0.58 Manila 6529.58 6487.23 +0.65 Ho Chi Minh 588.50 583.69 +0.82 Change on year Market Current End 2013 Pct Move TR SE Asia Index* 404.62 388.37 +4.18 Singapore 3129.40 3167.43 -1.20 Kuala Lumpur 1828.55 1866.96 -2.06 Bangkok 1364.28 1298.71 +5.05 Jakarta 4704.21 4274.18 +10.06 Manila 6529.58 5889.83 +10.86 Ho Chi Minh 588.50 504.63 +16.99 * The Thomson Reuters South East Asia Index is a highly representative indicator of stocks listed in Indonesia, Malaysia, the Philippines, Singapore, Thailand and Vietnam. Stock Market Volume (shares) Market Current Volume Average Volume 30 days Singapore 246,111,100 230,498,767 Kuala Lumpur 145,394,900 132,589,220 Bangkok 7,154,220 5,517,639 Jakarta 5,057,192,000 3,451,209,780 Manila 88,015 84,145 Ho Chi Minh 162,493 134,841
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