SE Asia Stocks - Thailand falls after martial law; Jakarta on political uncertainty
May 20 (Reuters) - Thai shares ended at a one-week low on Tuesday after the army declared martial law to restore order following six months of political unrest, while Indonesian stocks declined to a near two-week low on uncertainty over the outcome of the presidential election in July. Thailand's SET index fell more than 1.6 percent to 1,387.62 in early trade, but recouped losses and ended 1.1 percent lower amid mixed reaction to martial law, which the army said was not a coup. The imposition of martial law could be a negative, given the limitations of some foreign funds on investing in a market with political risks, and therefore we expect foreign selling pressure to continue in the near term, said Koraphat Vorachet, a strategist at brokerage Nomura Pattanasin. Teerada Charnyingyong, a strategist at broker Phillip Securities, said foreign investors were more willing to cut risks through a "wait and see" approach until the dust had settled. Tuesday's declaration of martial law came after six months of anti-government protests left Thailand without a proper functioning government, raising concerns about economic policies and stability essential for investor confidence. Analysts said the martial law, though seemingly negative at first glance, would help limit the risk of political violence. The Thai stock market suffered net foreign outflows of 8335.68 million baht ($257 million), the worst since Nov. 26. The decline was led by shares of Advanced Info Service , which fell 2.9 percent, while Airports of Thailand ended 2.7 percent lower. Jakarta stocks, which were under pressure due to growing uncertainty over the outcome of the July 9 presidential polls, lost 2.4 percent to close at their lowest since May 8, led by financials with Bank Mandiri falling 4.9 percent. The selloff was due to the Tuesday deadline for filing nominations for the presidential race, said John Teja, director of Jakarta-based broker Ciptadana Securities. The index rose to a near one-year high on Monday, but gave up the gains after Indonesia's second-largest party, Golkar, unexpectedly said it would back former general Prabowo's Gerindra party, the main rival of frontrunner Joko "Jokowi" Widodo. Teja said Prabowo and his Hatta coalition parties had 48 percent legislative votes, higher than Jokowi's coalition. The outcome was not what the market expected, which has been leaning towards Jokowi, he said. Other Southeast Asian markets remained range-bound, with Philippines, Vietnam and Singapore rising slightly. Malaysian shares ended 0.3 percent weaker, down from a record closing high in the previous session. 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* 421.67 425.94 -1.00 Singapore 3265.47 3262.43 +0.09 Kuala Lumpur 1881.16 1887.07 -0.31 Bangkok 1394.69 1410.63 -1.13 Jakarta 4895.96 5015.00 -2.37 Manila 6882.73 6870.90 +0.17 Ho Chi Minh 537.52 533.04 +0.84 Change on year Market Current End 2013 Pct Move TR SE Asia Index* 421.67 388.37 +8.57 Singapore 3265.47 3167.43 +3.10 Kuala Lumpur 1881.16 1866.96 +0.76 Bangkok 1394.69 1298.71 +7.39 Jakarta 4895.96 4274.18 +14.55 Manila 6882.73 5889.83 +16.86 Ho Chi Minh 537.52 504.63 +5.52 * 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 = 32.4500 Thai Baht) ($1 = 11417.5000 Indonesian Rupiahs) (Reporting by Shihar Aneez in COLOMBO and Viparat Jantraprap in BANGKOK; Editing by Prateek Chatterjee)
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