SE Asia Stocks-Singapore leads regional decline; Thai telecoms mixed
BANGKOK, March 21 (Reuters) - Southeast Asian stock markets were mixed on Monday, with stocks in Singapore retreating as investors waited for the 2016 budget announcement later in the week while Thai stocks were little changed amid speculative buying in telecoms shares. Thai SET index was up 0.06 percent at 1,383.79, with shares of telecoms firms among most actively traded. Jasmine International climbed 1.1 percent as investors waited to see whether the telecoms firm will meet the deadine on Monday to pay for the 4G licence it won in an auction in December. The SET index is expected to move within a range of 1,370-1,400, broker Krungsri Securities said in a report. "Continuous inflows will likely sustain the positive momentum in regional equities until signs of a Fed tightening emerge again in June," it said. Singapore's Straits Times Index dropped 1.2 percent after notching up strong gains of almost 3 percent last week. Brokers said some profit-taking was seen as investors looked forward to the city-state's 2016 budget announcement on Thursday. "It's been stated no strong policies to help will likely be announced this round, given that the "bullets" may be saved for when it is needed later, implying the government also expects this to come to pass," broker NRA Capital said in a report. The Philippine composite index trimmed some early gains and was up about 1 percent in a shortened trading week, with the stock market closed for a public holiday on Thursday and Friday. Singapore and Indonesia will also shut on Friday for a public hoilday. Key indexes in Malaysia and Indonesia fell after recent gains while Vietnam rebounded from Friday's fall. Foreign inflows picked up last week after a dovish interest rate outlook from the U.S. Federal Reserve. Energy shares underperformed as crude oil slid for a second session on Monday. Top losers on the MSCI index of Southeast Asia included Malaysia's Sapurakencana Petroleum which was down 2.3 percent. For Asian Companies click; SOUTHEAST ASIAN STOCK MARKETS Change at 0449 GMT Market Current previous close Pct Move Singapore 2873.08 2906.8 -1.16 Bangkok 1383.79 1382.96 0.06 Manila 7382.87 7306.74 1.04 Jakarta 4878.72 4885.708 -0.14 Kuala Lumpur 1709.18 1716.34 -0.42 Ho Chi Minh 577.28 575.82 0.25 (Reporting by Viparat Jantraprap; ; Editing by Biju Dwarakanath)
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