SE Asia Stocks-Thai shares set for worst weekly loss since Jan; Philippine up after S&P upgrade
BANGKOK, May 9 (Reuters) - Thai shares eased on Friday, heading for the worst weekly loss in 19 weeks, as protesters marched across the capital to bring down a caretaker government while the Philippine index hit an 11-month high after a Standard & Poor's upgrade. After heavy selloffs this week that wiped out more than three percent of the main Thai SET index, investors were mostly cautious amid signs of escalation in political violence adding to the risk in the economy. The SET index fell 0.4 percent, led by shares of PTT Pcl and Kasikornbank. Thai police fired teargas on Friday at royalist protesters bent on bringing down a caretaker government after a court threw Prime Minister Yingluck Shinawatra out of office and an anti-graft agency indicted her for negligence. The outcome was widely expected but any escalation in violence would be bad for the market, said Eric Choe, portfolio manger of Fidelity's Thailand Fund in Singapore. "The most likely scenario is a continuation of the protests and occasional violence we have seen over the past few months ... However, the market is likely to react positively if the political situation is resolved," he said. "Regardless of which party comes into power, we can still expect some sort of stimulus measure, and I am currently looking for ways to invest in this theme," the fund manager said. Yingluck's Puea Thai Party still runs the interim government and is hoping to organise a July 20 election that it would probably win. Philippine shares climbed 1.2 percent to their highest since June, on track for the seventh straight week of gain, after Standard & Poor's surprise upgrade of the country's credit ratings. Standard & Poor's raised the Philippines' credit rating to two notches above investment grade on Thursday, the first debt watcher to do so, saying reforms are likely to continue beyond the administration of President Benigno Aquino. Vietnam was an outperformer on the day, with the benchmark VN Index up nearly 3 percent after losing the most in a day since October 2001 in the previous session, as investors picked up cheap shares on expectations of a stable relationship with China. For Asian Companies click; For South East Asia Hot Stock reports, click; SOUTHEAST ASIAN STOCK MARKETS Change at 0739 GMT Market Current Prev Close Pct Move TR SE Asia Index* 418.50 417.95 +0.13 Singapore 3251.54 3247.69 +0.12 Kuala Lumpur 1863.58 1862.84 +0.04 Bangkok 1372.83 1379.02 -0.45 Jakarta 4879.46 4860.89 +0.38 Manila 6847.26 6765.21 +1.21 Ho Chi Minh 542.56 527.09 +2.93 * 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; Additional reporting by Mai Nguyen in HANOI; Editing by Anupama Dwivedi)
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