SE Asia Stocks-Lower; global risk aversion, holidays hit sentiment
BANGKOK, Feb 9 (Reuters) - Stocks in Thailand, Indonesia and the Philippines fell in holiday-thinned trade on Tuesday amid falling risk appetite globally and on caution ahead of U.S. Federal Reserve Chair Janet Yellen's semi-annual monetary policy testimony before Congress this week. The Thai SET index was down 0.9 percent at 1,295.84 near midday, its first loss in five trading sessions. About 3.3 billion shares changed hands, about a third of a full-day average over the past 30 days. Investors cashed in on quick gains in shares of Big C Supercenter, sending the stock down 0.4 percent and trimming some of its 9.7 percent surge the day before. Big C shares got a boost Monday after France's Casino Group agreed to sell its majority holding in Big C to TCC Group, owned by whiskey tycoon Charoen Sirivadhanabhakdi. The Thai index is expected to move in a narrow range, with investors eyeing the Fed's address on Feb. 10-11 to evaluate the chances of a rate hike in March, according to broker Maybank Kim Eng Securities. "Markets hope it will be delayed due to slower global economic growth and low oil prices which will keep the inflation level low. However, the Fed is expected to definitely hike the rate this year," the broker said. The Philippine main index slipped 1.4 percent while the Jakarta composite index was down 0.8 percent, both resuming trade after the Lunar New Year holiday on Monday. Shares of Globe Telecom Inc dropped almost 4 percent at one point after it reported weak fourth-quarter results. Asian shares, measured by MSCI's broadest index of Asia Pacific shares outside Japan, lost about 1.2 percent as stability concerns put a torch to European bank stocks and sent investors to safe haven assets. Singapore, Malaysia and Vietnam remained closed for the Lunar New Year holiday. For Asian Companies click; SOUTHEAST ASIAN STOCK MARKETS Change at 0432 GMT Market Current previous close Pct Move Bangkok 1295.84 1307.57 -0.90 Manila 6667.96 6765.13 -1.44 Jakarta 4760.541 4798.946 -0.80 (Reporting by Viparat Jantraprap; Editing by Biju Dwarakanath)
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