SE Asia Stocks - Thai index up; tourism stocks gain as curfew ends
BANGKOK, June 4 (Reuters) - Thai shares recovered from early losses on Wednesday with tourism stocks outperforming after the military government lifted the curfew in tourist towns while other Southeast Asian indexes eased ahead of a European Central Bank meeting on Thursday. The tourism sector is expected to recover after Thailand's ruling military council lifted the curfew in some tourist areas, including the popular beach resorts of Pattaya and Phuket. "We see some positive signs for tourism sector to recover in the second half of 2014. It may take 1-3 months for short and medium-haul market to come back to Thailand, 3-5 months for Europe and the U.S.," said analyst Sittichai Duangrattanachaya of broker Maybank Kim Eng. Hotel chain operator Central Plaza Hotel Pcl, which derives more than a third of its revenue from tourist areas, said its online bookings had tripled. The SET index was up 0.03 points at 1,454.27 at midday, with shares of airport operator Airports of Thailand climbing almost 1 percent to a one-month high. The benchmark fell in early trade as investors cashed in the overbought market. Thai shares rallied on Monday and Tuesday after Moody's reaffirmed Thailand's rating and an index of consumer confidence jumped on hopes the army government would revive the stumbling economy. Foreign investors bought shares over the past two sessions worth a net 5.8 billion baht ($177.45 million), after offloading a net 33.1 billion baht ($1 billion) in nine days since the imposition of martial law on May 20. Technically, Thai shares could face profit-taking as they were overbought, broker Phillip Securities said. In Singapore, shares fell to a one-week low after a survey showing the city-state's manufacturing activity grew in May but at a slower pace than in the previous month, prompting profit-taking. The Philippine index edged a tad lower, climbing at one point to its highest in more than one week after data showed a strong budget surplus for April. Stocks in Indonesia, Malaysia and Vietnam pulled lower after gains in the previous session. For Asian Companies click; For South East Asia Hot Stock reports, click; SOUTHEAST ASIAN STOCK MARKETS Change at 0639 GMT Market Current Prev Close Pct Move TR SE Asia Index* 422.51 424.54 -0.48 Singapore 3277.29 3296.67 -0.59 Kuala Lumpur 1865.10 1872.55 -0.40 Bangkok 1454.27 1454.24 0.00 Jakarta 4929.81 4942.16 -0.25 Manila 6795.83 6800.84 -0.07 Ho Chi Minh 550.96 558.76 -1.40 * 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 = 32.6850 Thai baht) (Reporting by Viparat Jantraprap; Editing by Sunil Nair)
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