SE Asia Stocks -Singapore shares lead regional decline
BANGKOK, Jan 16 (Reuters) - Southeast Asian shares fell on Friday amid turbulence in the foreign exchange market after Switzerland's move to remove its currency cap, with Singapore's key index sliding to a more than one-week low and others retreating from the previous day's rebound. Asian shares stepped back and major currencies mostly stuck to late U.S. levels after Switzerland's unexpected move to abandon its currency cap jolted markets already roiled by plunging commodities prices. Singapore's Straits Times Index was down 1.1 percent at 3,301.90, after falling to 3,292.42, the lowest since Jan. 7. It is heading for a weekly loss of about 1 percent, a second straight week of decline. Shares of commodity trader Noble Group fell as much as 5.9 percent to its lowest since early March, 2014, tracking weakness in the commodities market. A dramatic rise in the value of the Swiss franc has sent costs soaring for the country's commodity trading houses. Geneva, Switzerland is one of Noble Group's regional hubs. Jakarta's composite index was slightly weaker, set for a modest weekly loss. Investors sold recent gainers such as Bank Negara Indonesia . Broker Trimegah Securities said it expected the bank's earnings results, due later in the month, to outperform expectations. Battered energy shares such as Perusahaan Gas Negara rebounded as oil prices edged up in early Asian trading on Friday, benefiting from positive technical price momentum. "Oil price continues to fall, which is positive for Indonesia, being a net importer," Trimegah Securities said in a report. Bargain-hunting lifted recently beaten-down energy related stocks across exchanges, including Thailand's top energy firm PTT and Malaysia's Sapurakencana Petroleum. Malaysia's index was down 0.2 percent after a modest 0.3 percent rise on Thursday, trimming its gain on the week to 0.4 percent. The Thai index eased 0.06 percent after ending a tad higher on the previous day, on course for a 0.6 percent weekly decline. Vietnam edged down 0.3 percent, poised for about a 1 percent advance on the week. The Philippine stock market was closed on Thursday and Friday for the visit of Pope Francis to Asia's most populous Catholic country. The Philippine main index hit a record closing high on Wednesday at 7,490.88, ending the shortened trading week 1.2 percent higher. For Asian Companies click; For South East Asia Hot Stock reports, click; SOUTHEAST ASIAN STOCK MARKETS Change at 0408 GMT Market Current Prev Close Pct Move Singapore 3301.90 3338.84 -1.11 Kuala Lumpur 174.551 1745.00 -0.20 Bangkok 1522.47 1523.38 -0.06 Jakarta 5191.35 5188.71 -0.05 Ho Chi Minh 576.27 577.74 -0.25 (Reporting by Viparat Jantraprap; Additional reporting by Singapore bureau; Editing by Anupama Dwivedi)
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