SE Asia Stocks -Thai stocks hit near 4-week lows before court ruling on PM
BANGKOK, May 7 (Reuters) - Thai stocks touched their lowest in nearly four weeks on Wednesday as large caps were hit ahead of a court ruling on Prime Minister Yingluck Shinawatra, while shares in Malaysia trimmed losses after March exports growth came in line with expectations. The Thai SET index was down 0.35 percent at 1,399.03 after hitting a low of 1,388.29, its lowest since April 11, and extending the 1.2 percent drop in the previous session. PTT, Advanced Info Service, PTT Exploration and Production and Siam Commercial Bank , which make up almost a third of the benchmark, led losers. Domestic political factors are expected to dominate market sentiment through the day, brokers said. The Constitutional Court will rule on Wednesday whether to remove the prime minister from office for abuse of power, with an expected guilty verdict likely to bring her supporters into the street and plunge the country into a political vacuum. "Our baseline scenario remains that the caretaker Prime Minister will be hit but other cabinet members stay on. We see a possibility of the market rising following the ruling but still have to monitor whether there is any strong response from the pro-government side," strategists at KGI Securities wrote in a report. In Kuala Lumpur, the key share index was down 0.07 percent, led by banking and consumer-related stocks such as Genting Malaysia and AMMB Holdings. Malaysia's exports in March rose by 8.4 percent from a year earlier, in line with expectations, and the trade surplus that month was significantly higher than expected, data showed on Wednesday. Other markets in the region were mostly weak while Asian stocks fell as the heightened possibility of Ukraine slipping into civil war dampened risk sentiment. MSCI's broadest index of Asia-Pacific shares outside Japan was down 0.76 percent. For Asian Companies click; For South East Asia Hot Stock reports, click; SOUTHEAST ASIAN STOCK MARKETS Change at 0430 GMT Market Current Prev Close Pct Move TR SE Asia Index* 418.01 418.92 -0.22 Singapore 3230.43 3245.56 -0.47 Kuala Lumpur 1859.10 1860.43 -0.07 Bangkok 1399.03 1404.01 -0.35 Jakarta 4844.66 4834.47 +0.21 Manila 6757.45 6765.93 -0.13 Ho Chi Minh 560.10 555.11 +0.90 * 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 Subhranshu Sahu)
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