SE Asia Stocks-Thailand up; Big C, Berli Jucker lead gains
BANGKOK, Feb 8 (Reuters) - Thai stocks eked out small gains on Monday, as Big C Supercenter rallied to a one-year high after shareholder Casino Group agreed to sell its majority stake in the hypermarket operator to TCC Group, but public holidays in the region kept investors cautious. Bangkok's SET index traded 0.06 percent higher at 1,307.08, building on Friday's third straight gain. Big C shares jumped more than 10 percent at one point after France's Casino agreed to sell its stake to Thai tycoon Charoen Sirivadhanabhakdi's TCC Group. The news also sent shares of TCC Group's consumer conglomerate Berli Jucker higher by 11.4 percent on expectation the company will benefit from the acquisition. Broader market sentiment remained subdued after a weak session in U.S. stocks on Friday. Asian shares got off to a rocky start after mixed U.S. jobs data helped sink shares on Wall Street. "Foreign capital will likely slow down as major Asian markets are closed," said broker Maybank Kim Eng Securities. It expected the index to move in a narrow range of 1,300-1,315. Investors are monitoring key indicators to gauge the direction of U.S. interest rates, including U.S. Federal Reserve Chair Janet Yellen's testimony later this week. All share markets in Southeast Asia, except Thailand, are closed on Monday for the Lunar New Year holiday. A weaker U.S. currency and subdued expectations for a Fed rate hike this year had helped bolster sentiment in the region. For Asian Companies click; Change at 0426 GMT Market Current previous close Pct Move Bangkok 1307.08 1306.29 0.06 (Reporting by Viparat Jantraprap; Editing by Subhranshu Sahu)
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