SE Asia Stocks-Malaysia weak; March inflation meets forecast
BANGKOK, April 16 (Reuters) - Malaysian stocks hit three-week lows on Wednesday as investors booked profits in shares of large cap companies ahead of the release of March inflation data while the Thai benchmark index breached a key 1,400 mark amid selective buying in banking shares ahead of results. Stocks on the benchmark Kuala Lumpur Composite Index (KLCI) fell 0.5 percent to 1,845.37, the lowest close since March 26. Among the losers, shares of Telekom Malaysia dropped 1.7 percent, erasing some of Tuesday's gains. Malaysia's consumer price index in March rose 3.5 percent from a year earlier, reflecting a hike in food, transport and electricity prices, data from the Statistics Department showed on Wednesday. The data was released near the closing hour. The Thai SET index gained 0.9 percent to 1,401.84. The banking subindex was among the outperformers, up 1.1 percent. Thai banks are due to report their January-March earnings from this week. The Philippine index extended its gain for a second session, adding 0.8 percent to the highest close since July 30, ahead of a four-day holiday starting Thursday. Stocks in Vietnam bucked the trend, with the main index falling for a fifth session to the lowest since March 4 as investors were cautious on the first day of a high-profile financial fraud case. 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* 419.27 418.02 +0.30 Singapore 3253.20 3246.32 +0.21 Kuala Lumpur 1845.37 1853.88 -0.46 Bangkok 1401.84 1389.16 +0.91 Jakarta 4873.01 4870.22 +0.06 Manila 6671.18 6621.66 +0.75 Ho Chi Minh 574.29 586.09 -2.01 Change on year Market Current End 2013 Pct Move TR SE Asia Index* 419.27 388.37 +7.96 Singapore 3253.20 3167.43 +2.71 Kuala Lumpur 1845.37 1866.96 -1.16 Bangkok 1401.84 1298.71 +7.94 Jakarta 4873.01 4274.18 +14.01 Manila 6671.18 5889.83 +13.27 Ho Chi Minh 574.29 504.63 +13.80 * The Thomson Reuters South East Asia Index is a highly representative indicator of stocks listed in Indonesia, Malaysia, the Philippines, Singapore, Thailand and Vietnam. (Reporting by Viparat Jantraprap; Editing by Anupama Dwivedi)
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