SE Asia Stocks - Indonesia snaps losing streak; most others weak
BANGKOK, March 24 (Reuters) - Indonesian stocks eked out small gains on Tuesday amid a rise in the rupiah and selective buying in large-caps while other Southeast Asian stock markets were flat-to-weaker after a measure of Chinese factory activity came weaker than expected. Jakarta's composite index ended the day 0.2 percent higher after two straight days of modest falls. Banking shares were among those actively traded, led by Bank Rakyat Indonesia and Bank Negara Indonesia. The rupiah rose to its highest in more than two weeks amid uncertainty over the timing of U.S. interest rate hikes and after Indonesia's finance minister said he would work with the central bank to strengthen the currency. Broker Bahana Securities cut its rating on the market to neutral, with a end-year target of 5,550, and continued to recommend clients to adopt a more defensive strategy in consumer staples and telecoms. "While sentiment on the IDR has somewhat improved, the central bank's decision on its interest rate policy in the lead up to the upcoming Fed rate hike will remain a crucial determinant for both the equity and currency markets," Bahana Securities' head of research Harry Su said. Singapore stocks ended little changed for a second straight day, Thai stocks fell for a third day and Vietnam was down 0.6 percent, its second straight loss. Malaysia rose 1 percent, its first in three days. The Philippines was down 0.2 percent on the day. It is still up 8.3 percent on the year and is Southeast Asia's best performer, thanks to its economic outperformance. The Asian Development Bank (ADB) maintained its 2015 GDP growth forecast for the Philippines at 6.4 percent while cutting GDP growth forecasts for the year of most other countries in Southeast Asia. For Asian Companies click; For South East Asia Hot Stock reports, click; SOUTHEAST ASIAN STOCK MARKETS Change on day Market Current Prev Close Pct Move Singapore 3413.26 3410.13 +0.09 Kuala Lumpur 1814.04 1795.85 +1.01 Bangkok 1514.45 1520.01 -0.37 Jakarta 5447.65 5437.10 +0.19 Manila 7828.94 7840.49 -0.15 Ho Chi Minh 567.43 570.89 -0.61 Change on year Market Current End 2014 Pct Move Singapore 3413.26 3365.15 +1.43 Kuala Lumpur 1814.04 1761.25 +3.00 Bangkok 1514.45 1497.67 +1.12 Jakarta 5447.65 5226.95 +4.22 Manila 7828.94 7230.57 +8.28 Ho Chi Minh 567.43 545.63 +4.00 (Reporting by Viparat Jantraprap; Editing by Sunil Nair)
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