SE Asia Stocks-Most higher; Singapore index near 6-week high
BANGKOK, Feb 23 (Reuters) - Most Southeast Asian stock markets eked out small gains on Tuesday, with Singapore's key index hitting a near six-week high after inflation data for January but Indonesia benchmark retreated amid foreign-led selling in banking shares. Singapore's Straits Times Index traded up 0.5 percent at 2,674.64, touching 2,717.36 at one point, its highest since Jan. 13. Data showed the city-state's core inflation gauge rose 0.4 percent in January from a year earlier, the fastest pace in four months. Shares of DBS Group Holding, the most actively traded, gained 0.7 percent reflecting a better-than-expected quarterly profit released on Monday. Jakarta composite index shed 0.7 percent, led down by a 3.4 percent drop in shares of Bank Rakyat Indonesia as concerns about loan growth outlook of the banking sector lingered. In Bangkok, the SET index was up 0.6 percent at midday, hovering around the highest since Dec. 4, extending the gains last week when a rise in crude prices lifted sentiment of risk assets. "Market gains today might be limited by investors' concerns about the Chinese economy, renewed possibility of Fed raising rates this year and whether oil prices really bottomed," said strategists at broker Asia Wealth Securities in a report. Malaysia's key index, which trimmed some of its early gains, saw the gauge hitting the highest since Jan. 4. Stocks in the Philippines rebounded from the weakness on Monday while Vietnam advanced 0.8 percent, led by banks. Asian shares, as measured by MSCI's broadest index of Asia-Pacific shares outside Japan was down 0.2 percent from a seven-week high as the oil price rally that boosted global equity markets reversed. For Asian Companies click; SOUTHEAST ASIAN STOCK MARKETS Change at 0550 GMT Market Current Prev Close Pct Move Singapore 2674.64 2660.65 +0.53 Kuala Lumpur 1683.50 1674.59 +0.53 Bangkok 1328.03 1320.19 +0.59 Jakarta 4675.54 4708.62 -0.70 Manila 6815.93 6783.08 +0.48 Ho Chi Minh 564.93 560.71 +0.75 (Reporting by Viparat Jantraprap; Editing by Gopakumar Warrier)
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