SE Asia Stocks-Most retreat; tourism shares lift Thai index
BANGKOK, April 1 (Reuters) - Most Southeast Asian stock markets fell on Wednesday as investors cashed in on rallying markets, with the Indonesian index reversing from a record on Tuesday, but Thai shares eked out gains amid bargain hunting in tourism-related stocks. The Jakarta composite index traded down 1.06 percent after a 1.5 percent gain in the previous session. Astra International, the country's second-biggest firm by market capitalisation, dropped 4.4 percent, with retail investors selling after a rally on Tuesday to a record high. Data released early on Wednesday showed Indonesia's annual inflation rate in March increased slightly to 6.38 percent, close to the projection in a Reuters poll. In Bangkok, the key SET index was up 0.5 percent, extending the gains of the previous two days. Tourism-related shares such as Airports of Thailand and airline firm Asia Aviation were among those actively traded. "The lifting of martial law and the lowering of the NYMEX price by USD1/bbl will also regain investor confidence to tourism-related sectors and limit their downside risks," broker Maybank Kim Eng Securities said in a report. Thai Prime Minister Prayuth Chan-ocha said on Tuesday he had asked for King Bhumibol Adulyadej's permission to lift martial law, which has been in place since before a coup 10 months ago. He did not give a timeframe for when the law would be lifted. Stocks in Singapore, Malaysia and Vietnam traded lower after an end-quarter rally on Tuesday. Asian stocks sagged on Wednesday, taking their lead from weaker U.S. shares. In the Philippines, the key index edged up 0.13 percent, heading for a sixth straight day of gains and surpassing a record close of 7,940.49 on Tuesday, thanks to its economic outlook. The International Monetary Fund on Wednesday slightly upgraded its forecast for Philippine economic growth to 6.7 percent this year from 6.6 percent, due in part to higher state spending and strong private construction activity. For Asian Companies click; For South East Asia Hot Stock reports, click; SOUTHEAST ASIAN STOCK MARKETS Change at 0540 GMT Market Current Prev Close Pct Move Singapore 3442.22 3447.01 -0.14 Kuala Lumpur 1826.45 1830.78 -0.24 Bangkok 1514.10 1505.94 +0.54 Jakarta 5460.11 5518.67 -1.06 Manila 7950.46 7940.49 +0.13 Ho Chi Minh 546.03 551.13 -0.93 (Reporting by Viparat Jantraprap; Editing by Biju Dwarakanath)
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