SE Asia Stocks-Fall back, Thai telecoms shares weak on high 4G bid prices
BANGKOK, Dec 18 (Reuters) - Southeast Asian stock markets retreated on Friday amid weakness in Asian and U.S. stocks, with Thai telecoms firms' shares falling further as the auction of fourth generation spectrum licences continued for a fourth day and bid prices rose. Losses in telecoms stocks dragged the key Thai SET index 1.6 percent lower by midday. Concerns that high 4G investment cost would eat into profits and cut dividend payouts made telecoms shares less attractive, traders said. The SET index is set for a modest weekly gain of 0.7 percent. Brokers expected weak sentiment in the near term, with investors seen staying on the sidelines ahead of market holidays in the United States and Asia next week. "The momentum of the Fed rate hike is starting to fade while more negative angles from the U.S. tightening are being reported," broker Krungsri Securities said in a report. "Eventually, four U.S. rate hikes next year could see more funds being shifted from emerging and regional markets to seek better returns," its report said. Asian shares slipped after U.S. stocks dropped on Thursday due to persistent concern over faltering global economic growth, a day after shares had rallied on the Federal Reserve's decision to raise interest rates. Stocks in Indonesia and the Philippines fell more than one percent, but were on track to post first weekly gains in four weeks. The Vietnam index was slightly lower, but heading to end the week up about two percent, among the region's outperformers. Singapore and Malaysia were on course to end the week slightly higher. For Asian Companies click; SOUTHEAST ASIAN STOCK MARKETS Change at 0616 GMT Market Current Prev Close Pct Move Singapore 2848.08 2861.18 -0.46 Kuala Lumpur 1648.20 1656.52 -0.50 Bangkok 1289.43 1310.34 -1.60 Jakarta 4486.78 4555.96 -1.52 Manila 6823.80 6905.70 -1.19 Ho Chi Minh 576.48 577.11 -0.11 (Reporting by Viparat Jantraprap; Editing by Anupama Dwivedi)
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