SE Asia Stocks-Mostly down, Indonesia falls from 10-mth high before polls
April 8 (Reuters) - Most Southeast Asian stock markets edged down on Tuesday, with Indonesian shares falling from a 10-month closing high ahead of parliament polls amid its central bank leaving the benchmark interest rate unchanged as expected. Jakarta Composite Index was down 0.2 percent at 0801 GMT after sharp gains with foreign inflows on Monday. It had closed at its highest in 10 months in the previous session. Millions of Indonesians on Wednesday will vote to elect a new parliament and a president three months later in a race that could bring major changes to the way the world's third-largest democracy is run. Many investors hope that an expected victory of the main opposition Indonesian Democratic Party-Struggle (PDI-P), which has consistently topped opinion polls, will attract more foreign money into Southeast Asia's biggest economy. Indonesia's central bank on Tuesday left its key reference rate unchanged, as widely expected, with pressure easing from both the current-account deficit and rupiah. The market has risen more than 15 percent so far this year. Investors hope opposition candidate Joko Widodo - the favourite to win July's presidential poll - will restart stalled reforms, making the world's fourth-most-populous nation a strong contender for more investment. Gains in Indonesia's financial shares helped cushion the fall. Shares of Indonesian building materials maker PT Wijaya Karya Beton (WIKA Beton) rose as much as 50 percent in their trading debut on Tuesday, signalling strong appetite for infrastructure-related stocks. Thailand's SET index was down 0.4 percent to trade around its one-week low, Malaysian stock index lost 0.5 percent from a more than three-month high, and Philippines shares shed 0.4 percent and fell from an over five-month high. Singapore bucked the trend and was up 0.6 percent after falling for two sessions. The gain was led by Noble, up 5.3 percent, after it said China's largest grain trader COFCO Corp will buy a 51 percent stake in the company's agribusiness for an initial $1.5 billion. Vietnam's benchmark VN Index was 0.5 percent up, lifted by gains in several blue chips on dividend payment plans. For Asian Companies, click For South East Asia Hot Stock reports, click SOUTHEAST ASIAN STOCK MARKETS Change at 0803 GMT Market Current Prev Close Pct Move TR SE Asia Index* 417.33 415.60 +0.42 Singapore 3210.78 3193.59 +0.54 Kuala Lumpur 1853.96 1862.90 -0.48 Bangkok 1386.30 1392.40 -0.41 Jakarta 4912.12 4921.04 -0.18 Manila 6587.49 6614.40 -0.41 Ho Chi Minh 603.25 600.57 +0.45 (Reporting by Shihar Aneez; Editing by Joyjeet Das)
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