SE Asia Stocks-Indonesia at record high; Thai construction shares gain
BANGKOK, Sept 8 (Reuters) - Indonesia's key stock index hit a record high on Monday as investors bought consumer and banking shares on expectations of a likely end to fuel subsidy, while construction shares lifted the Thai index, underpinned by the government's investment plan. Jakarta's composite index rose 0.6 percent to 5,249.16, after climbing to 5,262.568 and topping an intraday record high of 5,235.76 hit in May 2013. Among those actively traded, shares of Bank Negara Indonesia added to their Friday's gain to the highest since June 1999. Shares of hypermarket store operator Matahari Putra Prima climbed about 1 percent to the highest since July 1. Talks of a fuel price hike helped lift market sentiment as President-elect Joko Widodo is expected to go ahead with a plan to cut expensive fuel subsidy that is hobbling reform efforts and broader economic growth. Broker Trimegah Securities said the government should raise the fuel price as soon as possible as the economy has begun to price in the possibility of a hike. "For the consumer sector, we continue to favour those that sell everyday needs i.e. grocery," it said in a report. The Thai SET index edged up 0.3 percent, extending its gains from Friday, led by construction-related shares such as builder Italian Thai Development and cement maker Siam Cement. The Thai government has earmarked about 2.4 trillion baht ($75 billion) for investment in infrastructure projects over the next eight years. Broker Maybank Kim Eng Securities expects the SET index to rise further to a key resistance level of 1,590. The index was at 1,587.80 near midday. "Investors should closely watch on the tomorrow first cabinet meeting where the clearer economic plan should be revealed," Maybank strategists wrote in a report. Stocks in the Philippines were up 0.8 percent, hovering around a more-than 15-month high. Stocks in Singapore , Malaysia and Vietnam were little changed, in line with the broader Asian stock market. Brokers expect Southeast Asian stock markets to see foreign inflows as tepid United States jobs data could delay the U.S. Federal Reserve's decision on interest rate hike. Data released on Friday showed U.S. employers hired the fewest number of workers in eight months in August and more Americans gave up the hunt for jobs, providing a cautious Federal Reserve with more reasons to wait longer before raising interest rates. For Asian Companies click; For South East Asia Hot Stock reports, click; SOUTHEAST ASIAN STOCK MARKETS Change at 0528 GMT Market Current Prev Close Pct Move Singapore 3337.02 3341.73 -0.14 Kuala Lumpur 1868.56 1868.46 +0.01 Bangkok 1587.80 1584.32 +0.22 Jakarta 5249.16 5217.33 +0.61 Manila 7318.96 7263.58 +0.76 Ho Chi Minh 640.47 638.65 +0.28 * 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 US dollar = 31.9900 Thai baht) (Reporting by Viparat Jantraprap; Additional reporting by Fransiska Nangoy in JAKARTA; Editing by Anupama Dwivedi)
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