SE Asia Stocks-Thai shares at 6-week lows amid risk of violence
BANGKOK, May 12 (Reuters) - Southeast Asian stock markets mostly fell on Monday, with Thai shares extending their losses to six-week lows amid risk of political violence while shares in Vietnam touched the lowest in four months as tensions with China mounted. Shares in Thai large caps came under more selling pressure as investors cut risk holdings ahead of a market holiday on Tuesday. Ongoing political protests kept risk- averse investors cautious. Two anti-government protesters were injured in a blast outside the Thai prime minister's offices, police said on Sunday, as the two sides in a long political crisis squared off over who is running the country. The benchmark SET index was down 0.5 percent at midday, adding to a 3.1 percent drop last week when Thai shares underperformed most others in Southeast Asia. The index fell to 1,370 in early hours of trading, the lowest since March 28. "The situation could turn explosive at any time and thus needs close monitoring," strategists at broker Krungsri Securities wrote in a report. Foreign investors withdrew from a net 2.3 billion baht ($70.55 million) worth of Thai shares last week after a court verdict removed Prime Minister Yingluck Shinawatra from office and an anti-graft agency indicted her for negligence in a rice-subsidy scheme. Stocks in Singapore were down 0.6 percent, with Malaysia <.KLSE > nearly flat, with both bourses shut on Tuesday for a market holiday. The Philippine index retreated after two sessions of gain to an 11-month high on Friday. Bucking the trend, Jakarta's Composite Index climbed to the highest since April 9, helped by selective buying in laggard shares such as Harum Energy after the coal miner reported better-than-expected first-quarter earnings. For Asian Companies click; For South East Asia Hot Stock reports, click; SOUTHEAST ASIAN STOCK MARKETS Change at 0539 GMT Market Current Prev Close Pct Move TR SE Asia Index* 417.63 419.16 -0.37 Singapore 3231.45 3252.13 -0.64 Kuala Lumpur 1866.84 1866.72 +0.01 Bangkok 1371.17 1377.37 -0.45 Jakarta 4921.83 4898.14 +0.48 Manila 6813.35 6847.26 -0.50 Ho Chi Minh 517.85 542.46 -4.54 * The Thomson Reuters South East Asia Index is a highly representative indicator of stocks listed in Indonesia, Malaysia, the Philippines, Singapore, Thailand and Vietnam. ($1 = 32.6000 Thai Baht) (Reporting by Viparat Jantraprap; Additional reporting by Ho Binh Minh in HANOI; Editing by Anupama Dwivedi)
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