SE Asia Stocks-Singapore near 3-week high; energy shares lead regional gains
BANGKOK, Dec 24 (Reuters) - Southeast Asian stock markets rose on Thursday as energy shares were lifted by a recovery in crude oil prices, bringing Singapore's index to a near three-week high, Thai key index touching a near one-week high and Vietnam snapped losses. Singapore's key Straits Times Index was up 0.5 percent at 2,877.62, the highest close since Dec. 7, with shares of oil and gas service firm Keppel Corp among actively traded. Singapore traded half-day and will shut on Friday for a public holiday. Thai stocks gained about 1 percent to 1,284.10, the highest since Dec. 18. Shares of PTT, the country's biggest oil and gas firm, jumped 1.2 percent as U.S. crude prices rose for a fourth straight session on Thursday. "In our view, a further rise in oil prices should set the SET index up to build on its gains today but the room for upside may be limited amid a continued foreign sell-off," strategists at broker Phillip Securities wrote in a report. The Thai market was the second worst-performing market in Southeast Asia this year as foreign investors fled the market partly due to the U.S. Federal Reserve's first interest rate hike in nearly a decade last week. Vietnam's benchmark VN Index edged up 0.4 percent, on track to snap a four-session losing streak, due to gains in energy shares such as PetroVietnam Gas. Stock markets in the Philippines, Malaysia and Indonesia were closed on Thursday through Friday for public holidays. For Asian Companies click; SOUTHEAST ASIAN STOCK MARKETS Change at 0828 GMT Market Current Prev Close Pct Move Singapore 2877.62 2863.65 +0.49 Bangkok 1283.45 1274.50 +0.70 Ho Chi Minh 566.17 564.27 +0.34 (Reporting by Viparat Jantraprap; Editing by Anand Basu)
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