SE Asia Stocks-down as oil prices hit energy shares; Thai index falls to over 6-wk low
BANGKOK, Dec 11 (Reuters) - Southeast Asian stock markets retreated on Thursday as investors cut positions in energy shares after global oil prices tumbled, sending the Thai benchmark to a more than six-week low and the Malaysian index down from the previous day's rebound. The Thai SET index traded about 2 percent lower at 1,527.48, the lowest since Oct. 22. Shares of the country's top energy firm PTT fell 3 percent and explorer PTT Exploration and Production dropped 5 percent to the lowest since May 2009 after oil prices tumbled as much as 5 percent on Wednesday. "More downside could be in store for Thai stocks today amid external pressures, further slides in crude oil prices and heavy foreign sell-offs in both equities and futures last Tuesday," strategists at broker Phillip Securities wrote in a report. The overall performance of listed Thai firms was positive although concerns remained over the outlook of energy companies due to weak oil prices, Stock Exchange of Thailand (SET)President Kesara Manchusree told reporters. An overnight fall in U.S. stocks broadly weighed on regional sentiment. U.S. stocks lost more than 1 percent on Wednesday in the S&P 500's biggest decline since Oct. 13 as another big drop in oil prices hammered energy shares. Energy shares led among the losers on regional indexes after staging a rebound on the previous trading day. In Kuala Lumpur, shares of Petronas Dagangan and Petronas Gas each dropped about 4 percent, with Malaysia's key stock index edging down 0.5 percent after a 1.6 percent rise on Wednesday. In Singapore, shares of Keppel Corp and Sembcorp Industries reversed the gains made on Wednesday and were among the top percentage underperformers on the key Straits Times Index. Broker NRA Capital expected more market weakness. "Though many consider the selling to be overdone, the lack of support and buying interest will likely exaggerate the falls," it said in a report. The Philippine index fell 1.9 percent to the lowest since Oct. 20, led down by shares of casino owner and operator Bloomberry Resorts Corp after a court ruling that allowed its erstwhile operator to sell 921.18 million shares. For Asian Companies click; For South East Asia Hot Stock reports, click; SOUTHEAST ASIAN STOCK MARKETS Change at 0452 GMT Market Current Prev Close Pct Move Singapore 3319.44 3325.81 -0.19 Kuala Lumpur 1757.00 1765.52 -0.48 Bangkok 1527.48 1559.56 -2.06 Jakarta 5152.22 5165.41 -0.26 Manila 7041.11 7175.08 -1.87 Ho Chi Minh 555.56 557.19 -0.29 (Reporting by Viparat Jantraprap; Editing by Anupama Dwivedi)
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