SE Asia Stocks-Rise on strong Asia, oil prices; S'pore up 2 pct
BANGKOK, March 3 (Reuters) - Southeast Asian stock markets rose on Thursday as strength in Asia and global oil prices further lifted risk sentiment, with the Singapore benchmark leading the way but caution remained over weak economic numbers in the region. Singapore's Straits Times Index rallied 2 percent, extending gains for a fifth session to the highest since Jan. 7. Shares of DBS Group Holdings and Oversea-Chinese Banking Corporation both jumped more than three percent. Banking shares saw buying in high volumes on talks of institutional buying, broker NRA Capital said in a midday report. "Further unwinding in safe haven trades continued," it added. Key economic indicators in the region remained weak, as activity in Singapore's factories fell to the lowest level in more than three years and Thai consumer confidence hit a three-month low in February. Thai SET index was up about 1 percent at midday after touching the highest since late November. Brokers in Bangkok said a stronger Thai baht could be supportive. "The market may extend with moderate gains on Thursday as Asian inflows remain strong. Further rise in Thai baht, despite a resilient US dollar index, is positive to inflows," KGI Securities said in a report. Among the outperformers, the Philippine composite index climbed 1.3 percent after two days of gains boosted by foreign inflows. Gains in Malaysia and Vietnam were relatively modest due to some quick profit-taking. Indonesia added 0.4 percent in its seventh straight session of gains, taking its year-to-date gain to almost 10 percent in dollar terms, Asia's best performer. The rebound of Southeast Asian shares in February amid foreign inflows and the strength in regional currencies also brought other key stock indexes among top performers in Asia this year. For Asian Companies click; SOUTHEAST ASIAN STOCK MARKETS Change at 0602 GMT Market Current Prev Close Pct Move Singapore 2783.00 2726.96 +2.06 Kuala Lumpur 1695.87 1691.03 +0.29 Bangkok 1380.50 1365.31 +1.11 Jakarta 4856.49 4836.19 +0.42 Manila 6972.01 6882.45 +1.30 Ho Chi Minh 570.67 570.18 +0.09 (Reporting by Viparat Jantraprap; Editing by Anupama Dwivedi)
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