SE Asia Stocks-Thai shares retreat; Vietnam near 1-week high
BANGKOK, Dec 25 (Reuters) - Thai stocks stepped back from a one-week high on Friday as investors quickly cashed in on big cap energy shares while Vietnam touched the highest in almost a week, with public holidays in the region draining trading volumes. Thai SET index was down 0.4 percent at 1,278.79 at midday, climbing at one point to the highest since Dec. 18. It was on track for a 0.5 percent weekly loss, bucking the trend in Southeast Asia. Shares of PTT Exploration and Production dropped 2.4 percent, retreating from a four-day rally. Shares of mid- and small-cap retailers were among bright spots after the government launched short-term tax incentives to boost end-year spending. Shares of handset distributor Samart I-Mobile Pcl jumped as much as 4.8 percent at one point. The country's economic growth this year could get a boost of 0.1-0.2 percentage points on the tax measures, finance minister Apisak Tantivorawong said in a press conference on Friday. Investors were also waiting on the Bank of Thailand's new economic forecasts for next year later in the day and economic data for November due out next week. "If the Thai economic numbers in November improve, we expect foreigners will return to accumulate selective stocks in the Thai market after they heavily took profit in banking, energy, and ICT sectors," said broker Maybank Kim Eng Securities. Overall trading volumes on Thai stock market were about 23 percent of a full-day average over the past 30 days as stock markets in Singapore, Malaysia, Indonesia and the Philippines were shut for public holidays. Vietnam advanced 0.8 percent, heading for a weekly gain of 0.4 percent. Energy stocks, including PetroVietnam Gas , extended their gains after U.S crude prices rose for a fourth consecutive session on Thursday. For Asian Companies click; SOUTHEAST ASIAN STOCK MARKETS Change at 0538 GMT Market Current Prev Close Pct Move Bangkok 1278.79 1284.15 -0.42 Ho Chi Minh 570.49 566.17 +0.76 (Reporting by Viparat Jantraprap; Editing by Shri Navaratnam)
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