SE Asia Stocks -Thai shares rise after finance minister rate comment
BANGKOK, June 3 (Reuters) - Southeast Asian stock markets mostly rebounded on Wednesday as bargain-hunting emerged in oversold shares such as Singapore's banks and regional large caps, while the Thai index extended early gains after the finance minister's comment on interest rates. The key Thai stock index was up 0.4 percent at midday, recovering from a near five-month closing low hit in the previous session. Among actively-traded stocks, Kasikornbank rose almost 1 percent after a four-session losing streak to a more than one-year low. Finance Minister Sommai Phasee said before the midday break that two recent interest rate cuts were already sufficient to help the struggling economy. His comment came amid concerns of a likely interest rate cut at the central bank's monetary policy committee meeting on June 10 and foreign selling of Thai stocks worth a net 3.5 billion baht ($104.1 million) over the past four sessions. "The interest rate uncertainty has been an issue in the market and investors have played safe before the rate decision next week," said an equity dealer at BT Securities. Singapore's Straits Times Index rose 0.3 percent, its first in six sessions, Kuala Lumpur's composite index was up 0.3 percent after three days of falls, and the Vietnam index hovered in a positive territory. A handful of large caps regained some recent lost ground, including Singapore's DBS Group Holdings and Malaysia's DiGi.Com. Indonesia was among the region's weak spots. Jakarta's composite index was down 1.4 percent, led by banking shares. Bank Rakyat Indonesia and Bank Central Asia both fell more than 3 percent each. Higher-than-expected inflation rate in May suggested that interest rates were unlikely to come down in the near term, while concerns about non-performing loans dampened sentiment on big banks, said Harry Su, head of research at Bahana Securities in Jakarta. For Asian Companies click; SOUTHEAST ASIAN STOCK MARKETS Change at 0538 GMT Market Current Prev Close Pct Move Singapore 3350.63 3340.75 +0.30 Kuala Lumpur 1746.99 1741.37 +0.32 Bangkok 1483.03 1476.87 +0.42 Jakarta 5143.58 5213.82 -1.35 Manila 7517.90 7551.96 -0.45 Ho Chi Minh 570.33 570.31 0.00 ($1 = 33.6300 baht) (Reporting by Viparat Jantraprap; Editing by Subhranshu Sahu)
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