SE Asia Stocks - Mixed; Jakarta recovers from 5-wk low
March 27 (Reuters) - Most Southeast Asian stock markets were trading mixed on Friday, with Indonesia recovering from a five-week closing low hit in the previous session, as upbeat U.S. economic data helped revive some risk appetite, but concern over tensions in the Middle East capped the gains. Jakarta's composite index traded 0.3 percent firmer by midday, recovering from its lowest close in five weeks hit in the previous session, but concerns over continued foreign outflow remained amid a sliding rupiah. Fund managers and foreign investors are bailing out of Indonesian stocks as worries grow that a perfect storm of a sliding rupiah, record levels of foreign debt and rising import costs could bring some businesses to their knees. Singapore's key stock index was up 0.3 percent, heading for a fifth straight session of gains. "The market could trend higher again today, with talk of some possible window dressing ahead of the month-end," said Singapore-based Net Research Asia in a investor note, adding that trading volumes are likely to be thin as the city-state was focusing on its founding Prime Minister Lee Kuan Yew's funeral scheduled for Sunday. The Philippine stock index was 0.2 percent firmer a day after the central bank left key policy rates steady as expected. Risk appetite improved on optimism over the U.S. economy after robust jobs data and activity in the services sector hit a six-month high in March. However, the gains were checked by the Saudi-led operation against Yemen. Though it has not affected the oil facilities of major Gulf producers, fears the conflict could spread and disrupt Middle East shipments have for now hit the sentiment. Thailand's SET index was 0.4 percent weaker, mainly led by commodity shares and headed for a sixth straight losing session, and hovered near a three-month low. Malaysia was marginally lower and Vietnam's benchmark VN Index fell 0.2 percent at the break, with rebounds in some banking shares cushioning falls in most equities. For Asian Companies click; For South East Asia Hot Stock reports, click; SOUTHEAST ASIAN STOCK MARKETS Change at 0606 GMT Market Current Prev Close Pct Move Singapore 3444.74 3431.59 +0.36 Kuala Lumpur 1817.46 1818.42 -0.05 Bangkok 1490.11 1496.41 -0.42 Jakarta 5387.20 5368.80 +0.34 Manila 7885.34 7871.10 +0.18 Ho Chi Minh 555.23 556.16 -0.17 (Reporting by Shihar Aneez in COLOMBO; Editing by Sunil Nair)
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