SE Asia Stocks - Most up; plan to end martial law lifts Thai shares
BANGKOK, March 31 (Reuters) - Southeast Asian stock markets mostly rose on Tuesday buoyed by end-quarter portfolio inflows and positive global market sentiment, with the Thai benchmark heading for a second straight gain on the government's plan to lift martial law. The Thai SET index was up 0.5 percent, extending the modest gain on Monday and further rebounding from a near three-month low hit on March 27. It is on course for a quarterly gain of 0.4 percent, the worst performing bourse in Southeast Asia. Thai Prime Minister Prayuth Chan-ocha said on Tuesday he has asked for King Bhumibol Adulyadej's permission to lift martial law which has been in place nationwide since before a May coup. Market focus will be on details of section 44 of the interim constitution, which will likely be invoked to replace martial law, strategists at broker Phillip Securities wrote in a report. "The possible lifting of martial law should be a boon for shares of hotel and airline operators," they said. Shares of Airports of Thailand were down 0.4 percent, erasing some of their earlier losses and hotel firm Central Plaza Hotel was unchanged after falling in early trade. The Philippine index was up 0.5 percent at 7,940.49, topping Monday's record close of 7,899.41 and on course for a 9.8 percent gain on the quarter, Southeast Asia's best performer. Jakarta climbed 1.2 percent, heading for a quarterly increase of 5.3 percent. Indonesia's Astra International and Philippine Ayala Land extended gains from Monday when foreign investors were net buyers of the stocks. A rally on Wall Street overnight and steps by China to shore up its economy boosted risk appetite in Asian stocks, with MSCI's broadest index of Asia-Pacific shares outside Japan up 0.5 percent. For Asian Companies click; For South East Asia Hot Stock reports, click; SOUTHEAST ASIAN STOCK MARKETS Change at 0722 GMT Market Current Prev Close Pct Move Singapore 3450.70 3454.26 -0.10 Kuala Lumpur 1826.75 1821.83 +0.27 Bangkok 1503.96 1496.51 +0.50 Jakarta 5504.36 5438.66 +1.20 Manila 7940.49 7899.41 +0.52 Ho Chi Minh 551.25 545.19 +1.11 (Reporting by Viparat Jantraprap; Editing by Sunil Nair)
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