SE Asia Stocks-Flat to weaker as oil prices retreat; Indonesian banks weak
BANGKOK, Feb 19 (Reuters) - Southeast Asian stock markets were flat to weaker on Friday as a retreat in global oil prices hit risk appetite in Asia, with Indonesia hitting a two-week low amid foreign-led selling in banking shares. Asian shares slipped from near three-week highs as investors remained cautious about the outlook for the global economy. Indonesia's Jakarta composite index slipped 1.3 percent to 4,717.26. It earlier touched 4,709.33, the lowest level since Feb. 5, nearly giving up gains early on the week, among Southeast Asia's underperformers. Among actively-traded shares, Bank Mandiri and Bank Rakyat Indonesia dropped about 5 percent as foreigners sold. Indonesia's central bank, anticipating that U.S. interest rates will not be hiked until after June, on Thursday escalated its efforts to lift sluggish growth and lending by cutting a host of rates. "A 25-basis-point cut was already in the price, as the JCI has already been on an uptrend in the past few days," said Harry Su, head of Research at broker Bahana Securities. "Some market players in fact were hoping for a 50-basis-point cut. So it's a sell on news type of a situation," he said. Malaysia eased 0.2 percent after a rally to a seven-week closing high on Thursday, poised for a 2 percent gain on the week. The rebounds in oil prices early in the week helped ease concerns about Southeast Asia's third-largest economy. Singapore is set to lead gains in the region on the week, up more than 4 percent, outperforming a 2.5 percent rise in the Philippines. Thai stocks and Vietnam are set to post about 2 percent gain for the week. For Asian Companies click; SOUTHEAST ASIAN STOCK MARKETS Change at 0358 GMT Market Current Prev Close Pct Move Singapore 2646.42 2657.57 -0.42 Kuala Lumpur 1677.09 1680.02 -0.17 Bangkok 1295.45 1294.59 +0.07 Jakarta 4717.26 4778.79 -1.29 Manila 6819.46 6848.87 -0.43 Ho Chi Minh 553.27 552.49 +0.14 (Reporting by Viparat Jantraprap; Editing by Anand Basu)
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