SE Asia Stocks-Philippine index rises further, most others fall
BANGKOK, May 15 (Reuters) - Most Southeast Asian stock markets fell on Friday as Indonesian benchmark eased after weak April trade data but shares in the Philippines bucked the weak trend after the central bank kept its policy rate steady as expected. The Philippines' key index rose for a fifth straight day, trading up 0.7 percent at a more than one-week high of 7,887.31. It was on course for a weekly gain of 1.6 percent, among the region's outperformers. Shares of property firm Ayala Land were among actively traded by turnover, up 0.4 percent to around one month high. The Philippine central bank kept its policy rate unchanged for a fifth straight meeting saying inflation is not a threat despite a possibly weaker peso and economic momentum remains strong. The rate decision was after Thursday's market close. Jakarta's composite index was down 0.5 percent, resuming trade after a public holiday on Thursday. It is poised to end the week 0.7 percent higher. Data early on Friday showed Indonesia had a trade surplus of $454 million in April, smaller than the revised $1.03 billion surplus it reported for March. Other sharemarkets were little changed in line with Asia as investors awaited more U.S. data due out later in the day for clues on the timing of the U.S. Federal Reserve's interest rate hike. Most markets were on track for a weekly loss, led by Vietnam's 2.1 percent. Singapore's Straits Times Index was also down marginally, but headed for a modest weekly gain, its first in four weeks. "Sentiment has been cautious amidst the lack of positive news and with reinforcements that the worst is not yet over. Cautious outlook comments from corporates concerned about a slowing economy adds to the reticence," Singapore-based NRA Capital said in a report. Quarterly earnings of Southeast Asian firms have been mixed. Genting Singapore posted a 43 percent drop in March-quarter core profit, sending the stock 6.4 percent lower. Gt Capital Holdings gained 0.7 percent after a quarterly net income surge. For Asian Companies click; For South East Asia Hot Stock reports, click; SOUTHEAST ASIAN STOCK MARKETS Change at 0509 GMT Market Current Prev Close Pct Move Singapore 3453.77 3455.78 -0.06 Kuala Lumpur 1805.00 1807.55 -0.14 Bangkok 1496.76 1497.40 -0.04 Jakarta 5217.86 5246.13 -0.54 Manila 7887.31 7831.44 +0.71 Ho Chi Minh 542.92 543.69 -0.14 (Reporting by Viparat Jantraprap; Editing by Gopakumar Warrier)
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