SE Asia Stocks -Malaysia poised for worst drop in 23 months; oil & gas stocks weak
BANGKOK, Dec 1 (Reuters) - Malaysia's benchmark index was headed for its worst drop in almost 23 months on Monday as Petroliam Nasional's plan to cut capital expenditure hit oil and gas shares while falling oil prices triggered selloffs in energy stocks across the region. Oil fell more than $2 a barrel to a five-year low in Asian trade on Monday, extending a steep sell-off after OPEC decided not to cut production last week, keeping markets well supplied. Kuala Lumpur's composite index was down 2.3 percent, on course for its biggest single-day fall since Jan 21, 2013, having hit 1,778.24 during the session, its lowest since Oct. 17. Petroliam Nasional (Petronas) said late on Friday that it will cut capex for next year by 15-20 percent due to falling oil prices, a move analysts said would hurt earnings of Malaysian oil and gas services firms relying on Petronas jobs. Among top losers, shares of Sapurakencana Petroleum plunged 13.9 percent and shares of UMW Oil and Gas Corporation slipped 15.2 percent. In Bangkok, shares of the country's biggest energy firm, PTT , were down 3.7 percent, while those of its energy explorer unit PTT Exploration and Production fell 4.1 percent. The Thai SET index edged up 0.1 percent, trimming most its early gains. Airline stocks outperformed the broader market, led by a 3 percent gain in shares of budget carrier Nok Airlines amid expectations of lower fuel costs. Bangkok-based Maybank Kim Eng Securities expected crude oil prices in the world market to stay low for a while, benefiting Asian economies and increasing the chance for looser monetary policy, it said in a report. "Although the energy sector will still be depressed by plunging oil prices, domestic play-related sectors will benefit from the downward trend in oil prices," it said. Data showed Thailand's annual headline inflation fell to a five-year low of 1.26 percent in November, slightly less than expected, due to falling oil prices and giving the central bank leeway to keep interest rates low to support the economy. Energy and resource shares were among those actively traded elsewhere, with Singapore's oilfield service provider Ezion Holdings Ltd sliding 11.3 percent and Indonesia's coal miner PT Bumi Resources Tbk down 9 percent. For Asian Companies click; For South East Asia Hot Stock reports, click; SOUTHEAST ASIAN STOCK MARKETS Change at 0543 GMT Market Current Prev Close Pct Move Singapore 3335.56 3350.50 -0.46 Kuala Lumpur 1778.90 1820.89 -2.31 Bangkok 1596.69 1593.91 +0.17 Jakarta 5156.09 5149.88 +0.12 Manila 7333.68 7294.38 +0.54 Ho Chi Minh 570.34 566.58 +0.66 (Reporting by Viparat Jantraprap; Additonal reporting by Yantoultra Ngui in Kuala Lumpur; Editing by Sunil Nair)
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