SE Asia Stocks - Philippines falls after weak Q1 GDP, Thai up
BANGKOK, May 29 (Reuters) - Philippine shares fell to their lowest in nearly a month on Thursday after first-quarter GDP growth came in lower than expectations, while Thai stocks extended gains as rice payments to farmers and government spending plans were seen reviving consumption. The Philippine main index was down 1.05 percent at 6,716.84, the lowest since May 2. Large caps underperformed, led by shares of Ayala Land Inc and Metropolitan Bank & Trust, each down more than 2 percent. The Philippine economy unexpectedly grew at its slowest annual pace in over two years in the first quarter, hurt by the impact of last year's super typhoon, but analysts stayed optimistic robust consumption and investment would support growth ahead. In Bangkok, the SET index rose 0.5 percent to 1,409.60 by midday, climbing at one point to 1,413.25, the highest since May 22. Builder Ch Karnchang, telecoms firm Advanced Info Service and retailer Big C Supercenter were among the gainers. Nomura analysts are more positive on Thailand's retail sector, mainly due to the prospect of a recovery in consumption, with Big C among its top picks. "We believe the worst has passed for the retail sector," they wrote in a report. Thailand's military chief is meeting a team of advisers for the first time on Thursday, a week after he seized power, to map out a strategy for securing the country and propping up a stumbling economy. Thailand's military rulers are expected to unveil economic policies next week, including the state budget. Other markets in Southeast Asia edged higher amid positive sentiment in Asia. In Singapore, the benchmark index hit its highest level in nearly a year. Shares of Singapore Post Ltd touched a record high after the company entered into an investment agreement with Alibaba Investment Ltd. Indonesia is shut for a market holiday. For Asian Companies click; For South East Asia Hot Stock reports, click; SOUTHEAST ASIAN STOCK MARKETS Change at 0525 GMT Market Current Prev Close Pct Move TR SE Asia Index* 423.00 421.38 +0.38 Singapore 3304.88 3271.84 +1.01 Kuala Lumpur 1876.87 1871.66 +0.28 Bangkok 1409.63 1402.79 +0.49 Jakarta closed 4963.93 closed Manila 6716.84 6787.88 -1.05 Ho Chi Minh 559.89 557.34 +0.46 * 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 Prateek Chatterjee)
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