SE Asia Stocks -Lower amid weak oil prices; Malaysia at 15-month low
BANGKOK, Dec 8 (Reuters) - Southeast Asian stock markets fell on Monday led by oil and gas stocks and palm plantation shares amid lower crude prices, sending the Malaysian index to its lowest in 15 months while Thailand's top energy firms saw more sell-offs. Crude oil prices fell more than a dollar and approached a five-year low hit early this month after Morgan Stanley cut its price forecast for Brent crude. Malaysia's key share index traded down 0.72 percent at 1,736.81, the lowest since September 2013. Shares of Petronas Chemicals Group and IOI Corporation were among the biggest losers. The ringgit hit a five-year low as lower crude prices raised concerns over Malaysia's current account and fiscal deficit. The Thai SET index was a tad lower as losses in energy shares overshadowed gains in airline stocks such as Thai Airways International, which jumped almost 3 percent. Shares of energy explorer PTT Exploration and Production extended losses for a third session, down 2.7 percent at 128.5 baht, the lowest since December 2009. Brokers expect Thai market sentiment to remain weak, mainly due to external factors. "Globally, investors are now concerned with the growth stories of major economies, and Japan's weaker-than-expected growth will hurt regional equities today," the broker said. Asian shares were mostly lower on Monday after sobering data highlighted the sluggishness of the region's key economies and tempered the lift from much stronger-than-expected U.S. employment numbers. Japanese stocks were steady as a downward revision in third quarter GDP figures balanced hopes for exporters due to a weaker yen and optimism over the U.S. economy. In Jakarta, shares of palm plantation firm Astra Agro Lestari were down 1.7 percent, bringing Jakarta's composite index 1 percent lower to a one-week low. The Philippine stock market is closed on Monday due to heavy rains and strong winds caused by Typhoon Hagupit. For Asian Companies click; For South East Asia Hot Stock reports, click; SOUTHEAST ASIAN STOCK MARKETS Change at 0655 GMT Market Current Prev Close Pct Move Singapore 3319.50 3324.39 -0.15 Kuala Lumpur 1736.81 1749.37 -0.72 Bangkok 1597.53 1597.76 -0.01 Jakarta 5137.77 5187.99 -0.97 Ho Chi Minh 574.84 578.76 -0.68 (Reporting by Viparat Jantraprap; Editing by Sunil Nair)
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