SE Asia Stocks - Most weak; Thai shares retreat after Q1 econ data
BANGKOK, May 18 (Reuters) - Most Southeast Asian stock markets fell on Monday with investors cashing in quick gains in Thai shares on signs of economic weakness while the Indonesian index drifted into negative territory a day before an interest rate decision. Bangkok's SET index slid 0.15 percent to 1,509.94, reversing from a more-than-one-week closing high on Friday. Active selling was seen in large-cap shares including Kasikornbank and PTT. Trading volume was relatively thin at 32 percent of the full-day average over the past 30 trading days. Data early on Monday showed the Thai economy expanded 0.3 percent in January-March from the prior three months, contrary to expectations for a contraction, but the latest data still points to a weak growth outlook. The SET will likely contract to the 1,480-1,490 range, led by a slump in domestic plays, strategists at broker Maybank Kim Eng Securities wrote in a note to clients. "Light trading volumes will continue as markets have not yet seen any clear signs of economic recovery," the broker said in a report. Jakarta's composite index was 0.3 percent lower. Shares of Bank Mandiri rebounded 0.7 percent from a more-than-two-week closing low on Friday. Bank Rakyat Indonesia edged up 0.6 percent, recovering from early losses. Nineteen out of 21 analysts expected Indonesia's central bank to keep its key policy rate unchanged at 7.50 percent at a meeting on Tuesday even though the country's growth rate has fallen to its lowest since 2009, a Reuters poll showed. Stocks in Singapore and Malaysia snapped a three-day rising streak, with Vietnam near five-month lows. Asian shares struggled on Monday after soft data raised more questions about the health of the U.S. economy. For Asian Companies click; For South East Asia Hot Stock reports, click; SOUTHEAST ASIAN STOCK MARKETS Change at 0555 GMT Market Current Prev Close Pct Move Singapore 3453.31 3463.10 -0.28 Kuala Lumpur 1811.84 1811.92 0.00 Bangkok 1509.94 1512.19 -0.15 Jakarta 5225.78 5227.09 -0.03 Manila 7908.85 7881.95 +0.34 Ho Chi Minh 533.14 537.44 -0.80 (Reporting by Viparat Jantraprap; Editing by Sunil Nair)
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