SE Asia Stocks-Firmer on strong corporate earnings, S'pore leads
SINGAPORE, April 30 (Reuters) - Southeast Asian shares rose on Wednesday on solid corporate earnings, with Singapore recovering from two-week lows after two of the country's largest banks posted record profits that surpassed expectations. The gains eclipsed worries about Ukraine after the United States and the European Union imposed more sanctions on Russia for its role in backing the separatist movement in eastern Ukraine. Singapore's benchmark Straits Times Index gained 0.7 percent after dropping to its lowest since April 14 the previous day, buoyed by gains in banking stocks. Shares of DBS Ltd rose 2.8 percent to hit their highest in more than three months, while OCBC Ltd stocks advanced 3.2 percent to three-week highs. The two banks posted record quarterly profits earlier on Wednesday that easily surpassed market estimates, powered by double-digit growth in loans and improving interest rate margins. UOB Ltd shares rallied from five-week lows to jump as much as 3.4 percent, though its first-quarter earnings are not due until after the market close. Brokerage CIMB expects banks to outperform the Singapore market this year, it said in a research note. The gains were evenly spread throughout the region, with Thailand and Indonesia gaining 0.3 percent, and Malaysia rising 0.4 percent. The Philippines stretched gains into a second day, rising 0.8 percent. The index was bolstered by advances in its largest utility firm Manila Electric Co, which edged up 2.1 percent, and a 2.5 percent rise in real estate company Megaworld Corp. Markets in Vietnam are closed for a public holiday. 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* 418.80 417.41 +0.33 Singapore 3263.26 3237.74 +0.79 Kuala Lumpur 1867.45 1859.34 +0.44 Bangkok 1417.86 1412.33 +0.39 Jakarta 4833.60 4819.68 +0.29 Manila 6687.71 6636.45 +0.77 (Reporting by Andrew Toh; Editing by Anand Basu)
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