SE Asia Stocks-Malaysia leads regional decline; oil shares fall
BANGKOK, Aug 14 (Reuters) - Most Southeast Asian stock markets fell on Friday, with the Malaysian stock index hitting a near 3-year low as a weakening ringgit and tumbling global oil prices prompted investors to cut holdings in regional energy shares. The Kuala Lumpur composite index was down nearly 2 percent, its lowest since Nov. 2012. Shares of oil and gas services firm Sapurakencana Petroleum Bhd and electricity utility Tenaga Nasional Bhd topped losers. The index is poised for a weekly loss of 5.4 percent, the worst since Oct. 2008 as the ringgit marked a fresh pre-peg 17-year low, with a fall in oil prices increasing concerns about the country's exports. Large-cap energy shares in the region such as PTT Exploration and Production Pcl and Aboitiz Power Corp , were among the biggest percentage losers as U.S. crude oil prices fell below $42 a barrel on Friday. In Indonesia, shares turned weaker after a rebound on Thursday, while the Philippines eased after its central bank decided late on Thursday to keep its benchmark interest rate unchanged. Vietnam edged down 0.62 percent at the break, with most blue chips losing ground after the central bank widened its currency trading band. Singapore advanced for a second day as bargain hunting continued. In Bangkok, the broader SET index edged slightly higher after a fifth straight fall on Thursday. "There is no catalyst to drive the market up today. The latest U.S. data again supports the view the Fed could raise interest rates, which does not bode well for market sentiment," broker Asian Wealth Securities in Bangkok said in a report. All Southeast Asian stock indexes are set to post losses on the week as the yuan devaluation hit regional currencies, with Indonesia's Jakarta composite index heading for a 4.2 percent drop, the second worst after Malaysia. For Asian Companies click; SOUTHEAST ASIAN STOCK MARKETS Change at 0545 GMT Market Current Prev Close Pct Move Singapore 3106.75 3091.78 +0.48 Kuala Lumpur 1591.55 1621.62 -1.85 Bangkok 1406.36 1404.15 +0.16 Jakarta 4569.95 4584.25 -0.31 Manila 7417.29 7439.80 -0.30 Ho Chi Minh 590.56 594.26 -0.62 (Reporting by Viparat Jantraprap; Editing by Biju Dwarakanath)
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