SE Asia Stocks -Thailand closes near 3-month low; energy shares gain
March 26 (Reuters) - Most Southeast Asian stock markets ended weaker on Thursday, with Thailand near its lowest in more than three months, tracking losses in regional markets though energy shares gained as crude prices rose sharply amid escalating tensions in the Middle East. Risk appetite was hit from news Saudi Arabia and its Gulf Arab allies had launched air strikes in Yemen against Houthi fighters who have tightened their grip on the southern city of Aden. Brent futures were up $2.27 at $58.75 by 1034 GMT. U.S. crude was up $2.03 at $51.24 a barrel. Thailand's SET index fell 1.1 percent to close at its lowest since Jan. 6, led by financials. Foreign investors sold a net $36.69 million worth of shares. Thai energy shares bucked the trend, with PCC Exploration and Production PCL and PTT gaining 5.2 percent and 0.3 percent, respectively. Indonesia's Jakarta Composite Index fell 0.7 percent to a five-week closing low amid a net foreign outflow of $25.18 million, while the Malaysian stock index ended marginally lower. Vietnam's benchmark VN Index dropped 0.9 percent to close at its lowest since Jan. 8, led by extended selling in PetroVietNam Gas, the country's top firm by market value. Weakness in regional currencies with Malaysia's ringgit and Indonesia's rupiah down on corporate dollar demand, also weighed on stocks. The Philippine stock index recovered from early losses and closed 0.4 percent up. After the market closed, the Philippine central bank left its benchmark interest rate unchanged, as expected, saying inflation will stay well within its comfort range this year and next while economic growth is expected to remain robust. Singapore's key stock index ended 0.4 percent firmer. 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 3431.59 3419.02 +0.37 Kuala Lumpur 1818.42 1819.10 -0.04 Bangkok 1496.41 1512.80 -1.08 Jakarta 5368.80 5405.49 -0.68 Manila 7871.10 7836.34 +0.44 Ho Chi Minh 556.16 560.93 -0.85 Change on year Market Current End 2014 Pct Move Singapore 3431.59 3365.15 +1.97 Kuala Lumpur 1818.42 1761.25 +3.25 Bangkok 1496.41 1497.67 -0.08 Jakarta 5368.80 5226.95 +2.71 Manila 7871.10 7230.57 +8.86 Ho Chi Minh 556.16 545.63 +1.93 ($1 = 32.5200 baht) ($1 = 13,018.0000 rupiah) (Reporting by Shihar Aneez in COLOMBO; Editing by Subhranshu Sahu)
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