SE Asia Stocks-Rise on oil price rebound; Malaysia up with ringgit
BANGKOK, Feb 18 (Reuters) - Southeast Asian stock markets rose on Thursday, with the Malaysian index hitting a seven-week high amid gains in the ringgit in reaction to rebounding oil prices while Indonesian shares posted modest gains after the central bank cut rates as expected. Gains in crude oil helped improve risk sentiment in Asia, sending MSCI's broadest index of Asia Pacific shares outside Japan 1.8 percent higher. Kuala Lumpur composite index climbed nearly 1 percent to 1,680.02, the highest close since Dec. 31. The Malaysian ringgit advanced more than 1 percent as a surge in oil prices and better-than-expected fourth-quarter economic data eased concerns about Southeast Asia's third-largest economy. Malaysia saw relatively moderate trading volumes which were close to a 30-day average, similar to regional peers. Brokers said uncertainties about the direction of global oil prices kept some investors cautious. Jakarta composite index closed the day up 0.3 percent after the Indonesian central bank cut its benchmark interest rate for the second time this year, as expected, in a bid to help speed up sluggish economic growth. Singapore reversed Wednesday's loss and rose 1.7 percent to a more than one-month high. The Philippines rose for a fourth day, hovering around a seven-week high. Thai and Vietnamese stocks rebounded from the day before. Foreign investors bought Malaysian and Indonesian shares worth a net 211 million ringgit ($50.72 million) and 367 billion rupiah ($27.21 million) respectively while selling Philippine shares worth a net 800 million peso ($16.83 million), stock exchange and Thomson Reuters data showed. For Asian Companies click; SOUTHEAST ASIAN STOCK MARKETS Change on day Market Current Prev Close Pct Move Singapore 2657.57 2613.79 +1.67 Kuala Lumpur 1680.02 1664.32 +0.94 Bangkok 1294.59 1288.47 +0.47 Jakarta 4778.79 4765.51 +0.28 Manila 6848.87 6756.82 +1.36 Ho Chi Minh 552.49 547.05 +0.99 Change on year Market Current End 2015 Pct Move Singapore 2657.57 2882.73 -7.81 Kuala Lumpur 1680.02 1692.51 -0.74 Bangkok 1294.59 1288.02 +0.51 Jakarta 4778.79 4593.00 +4.04 Manila 6848.87 6952.08 -1.48 Ho Chi Minh 552.49 579.03 -4.58 ($1 = 4.1600 ringgit) ($1 = 13,490.0000 rupiah) ($1 = 47.5450 Philippine pesos) (Reporting by Viparat Jantraprap; Editing by Anupama Dwivedi)
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