SE Asia Stocks - Most flat-to-weaker; Thai builders up on project hopes
BANGKOK, May 21 (Reuters) - Most Southeast Asian stock markets were flat-to-weaker on Thursday in line with Asian shares, but Thai construction stocks rose after the government set a clear timeline for completing key infrastructure projects. The Thai SET index was up 0.33 percent led by gains in builder Sino Thai Engineering, which climbed 1.4 percent to their highest since April 27, and Italian Thai Development which rose 1.3 percent. Transport Minister Prajin Juntong unveiled on Wednesday a timeline for construction of key projects, including dual track trains worth 300 billion baht ($8.97 billion) among several others. "We have a positive view of the transport minister's address yesterday regarding the transport infrastructure development plan that will focus on all types of transportation," strategists of broker Maybank Kim Eng Securities wrote in a report. Indexes in Malaysia, Indonesia, the Philippines and Vietnam all traded in negative territory. Singapore's key index extended its weaknesses for a fourth day to the lowest since May 7. Minutes from the latest Federal Reserve meeting bolstered expectations that U.S. interest rates will remain near zero until later in 2015. Singapore-based broker NRA Capital said the local bourse was not likely to recover on news about the possibility of a delay in U.S. interest rate hikes. "That was always in the background. Of more immediate concern is the pace of the economic slowdown, both here and overseas, and especially in China which has instead had a series of interest rate cuts in a bit to stimulate the economy," it said. MSCI's broadest index of Asia-Pacific shares outside Japan was effectively flat. For Asian Companies click; For South East Asia Hot Stock reports, click; SOUTHEAST ASIAN STOCK MARKETS Change at 0413 GMT Market Current Prev Close Pct Move Singapore 3439.35 3439.68 -0.01 Kuala Lumpur 1807.25 1810.11 -0.16 Bangkok 1525.07 1520.11 +0.33 Jakarta 5282.41 5292.75 -0.20 Manila 7849.93 7881.93 -0.41 Ho Chi Minh 548.83 550.10 -0.23 ($1 = 33.4500 baht) (Reporting by Viparat Jantraprap; Editing by Sunil Nair)
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