SE Asia Stocks-Thai shares up; govt approves economic stimulus plan
BANGKOK, Oct 1 (Reuters) - Thai shares edged higher on Wednesday as shares of top energy firm PTT extended gains thanks to gas price hikes and investors bought bank stocks on hopes government measures will boost the domestic economy. Thailand's military government approved stimulus measures worth more than 100 billion baht ($3 billion) on Wednesday to boost its stuttering economy, General Prayuth Chan-ocha, the country's prime minister said. The announcement came during the market midday trading break. Other markets in the region were range-bound as trading in Asia was subdued with China closed for National Day and investors monitoring Hong Kong's pro-democracy unrest. Thai SET index was up 0.4 percent at midday. Shares of state-run Krung Thai Bank climbed 1.7 percent and shares of Siam Commercial Bank gained 1.4 percent. PTT shares, the most actively traded, rose 1.4 percent, adding on a 2 percent rise on Tuesday after it said its loss from natural gas for vehicles (NGV) business will be reduced by 2 billion baht a year after the NGV price hike by 1.00 baht a kg to 11.50 baht. The Thai market had a weak session on Tuesday after data showed the domestic economy lost traction in August amid contractions in trade and weak private consumption. "The market's focus will turn to the meeting of the cabinet which will approve stimulus measures proposed by each ministry," said a strategist at broker Phillip Securities. Deputy Prime Minister Pridiyathorn Devakula said the government on Wednesday will discuss short-term economic measures that would help the economy return to its normal growth of 4-5 percent next year. Singapore's Straits Times Index was down 0.3 percent, with shares of Hongkong Land Holdings Ltd and CapitaLand among losers. Data showed Singapore private home prices contracted 0.6 percent during the third quarter of 2014. A weaker-than-expected trade balance in August trimmed gains on Indonesian stocks, with Jakarta's composite index up 0.2 percent. Fund flows to Indonesia's large caps were mixed, with inflows sending shares of Bank Rakyat Indonesia 2.2 percent higher and outflows pulling down shares of Telkom Indonesia, according to Thomson Reuters data. For Asian Companies click; For South East Asia Hot Stock reports, click; SOUTHEAST ASIAN STOCK MARKETS Change at 0632 GMT Market Current Prev Close Pct Move Singapore 3266.61 3276.74 -0.31 Kuala Lumpur 1847.25 1846.31 +0.05 Bangkok 1592.67 1585.67 +0.44 Jakarta 5145.28 5137.58 +0.15 Manila 7248.82 7283.07 -0.47 Ho Chi Minh 610.15 598.80 +1.90 (1 US dollar = 32.4200 Thai baht) (Reporting by Viparat Jantraprap; Editing by Biju Dwarakanath)
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