SE Asia Stocks -Most up on Chinese PMI, Fed minutes; Thai at two-week high
May 22 (Reuters) - Thai shares rose to a more than two-week high on Thursday as martial law imposed on Tuesday kept Bangkok free of violence amid army attempts for a compromise between the two rival parties. Other Southeast Asian markets mostly trader firmer after a private survey showed China's factory sector turned in its best performance in five months in May, and a reassurance by the U.S. Federal Reserve to keep easy policy for foreseeable future. Thailand's SET index touched its highest level since May 6 and was up 0.5 percent at midday, led by banks and energy. Thailand's military chief will press political rivals on Thursday to end a drawn-out power struggle that has polarised the country and battered its economy, after neither side gave ground in a first round of army-brokered talks. "We expect the Thai market to move up further on Thursday backed by US stocks moving up in response to FOMC meeting minutes which showed no US interest rate hike is imminent," KGI Securities said in a report. "This development should be positive to Asian funds flow, though the benefit to Thai stocks will be significantly less in the near term as martial law curbs foreign inflows." The Bangkok market has suffered a net $351.05 million in foreign outflows in two sessions through Wednesday after the army declared martial law on Tuesday, but said it was not a coup. Other Southeast Asian markets were mostly up with the Jakarta Composite Index 1.2 percent higher, Philippines gaining 0.6 percent, and Singapore 0.1 percent up by 0640 GMT. Malaysia bucked the trend, losing 0.1 percent and heading for its third straight fall since Monday's record high. For Asian Companies click; For South East Asia Hot Stock reports, click; SOUTHEAST ASIAN STOCK MARKETS Change at 0646 GMT Market Current Prev Close Pct Move TR SE Asia Index* 423.90 421.71 +0.52 Singapore 3262.91 3261.78 +0.03 Kuala Lumpur 1874.96 1877.03 -0.11 Bangkok 1410.32 1402.92 +0.53 Jakarta 4968.05 4910.29 +1.18 Manila 6805.30 6762.38 +0.63 Ho Chi Minh 544.27 543.88 +0.07 * 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 Shihar Aneez in Colombo and Viparat Jantraprap in Bangkok; Editing by Prateek Chatterjee)
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