SE Asia Stocks-Little changed; Thai weak trade data prompts profit-taking
BANGKOK, Feb 25 (Reuters) - Southeast Asian stock markets were little changed on Thursday as investors fretted over the volatility in global oil prices, with stocks in Thailand nearly erasing early gains after data showed exports for January came worse than expected. Bangkok's key SET index traded a tad up 0.1 percent amid selling in rallying shares, including banks such as Siam Commercial Bank and Kasikornbank. Thai customs-cleared trade exports for January contracted 8.9 percent from a year earlier versus economist forecasts in a Reuters poll of a 7.1 percent drop, with the fall in imports for the month also larger than expected. "Weak trade data could upset near-term sentiment but any impact would be limited because this has been largely priced in," said broker Krungsri Securities in a report. Key indexes in Singapore, Malaysia and Indonesia hovered in a positive territory while Vietnam drifted into negative territory. Stocks in Asia as measured by MSCI's broadest index of Asia-Pacific shares outside Japan was down 0.3 percent. Crude prices dipped as strong U.S. gasoline demand failed to counter downward pressure from global overproduction that has left storage facilities swelling with unsold oil. Singapore's oil-related stocks fell, reflecting weak fundamentals and concerns about companies taking impairments on their assets, said broker NRA Capital in a report. Sembcorp Marine Ltd dropped 3.8 percent, among top losers. The Philippines' stock market was closed for a public holiday, reopening on Friday. For Asian Companies click; SOUTHEAST ASIAN STOCK MARKETS Change at 0447 GMT Market Current Prev Close Pct Move Singapore 2622.16 2619.96 +0.08 Kuala Lumpur 1665.24 1664.17 +0.06 Bangkok 1333.24 1331.93 +0.10 Jakarta 4664.60 4657.72 +0.15 Ho Chi Minh 566.64 568.04 -0.25 (Reporting by Viparat Jantraprap; Editing by Gopakumar Warrier)
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