SE Asia Stocks-Mostly up; Singapore index climbs to over four-month high
JAKARTA, April 14 (Reuters) - Southeast Asian stock markets rose on Thursday, with the Singapore index extending its rally after a surprise policy easing by its central bank. Singapore's Strait Times Index rose as much as 1.2 percent to touch its highest since Nov. 25, led by banking stocks. The Monetary Authority of Singapore (MAS) unexpectedly eased policy on Thursday after growth stalled in the first quarter and as slackening global demand darkened the outlook for the trade-dependent economy, sending the local dollar tumbling to its worst loss in eight months. "On the one hand some currency weakness helps competitiveness for exporters, but it will also likely put upward pressure on domestic rates - bad for domestic consumption and property, but potentially good for bank margins," said Mixo Das, Nomura's Southeast Asia equity strategist. "In addition, the policy move signals weaker economic performance and discourages inward capital flows." Singapore's United Overseas Bank Ltd rose 2.3 percent, while Overseas-Chinese Banking Corporation Ltd gained 1.5 percent. Philippine stocks rose 0.4 percent, while Indonesian stocks eased 0.2 percent after having touched their highest in a week earlier in the day. Thailand is closed for the Songkran Festival. For Asian Companies click; SOUTHEAST ASIAN STOCK MARKETS Change 0437 GMT Market Current Prev close Pct move Singapore 2920.18 2890.41 1.03 Kuala Lumpur 1722.89 1723.11 -0.01 Jakarta 4846.52 4853.01 -0.13 Manila 7372.98 7341.00 0.44 Ho Chi Minh 583.69 578.02 0.98 (Reporting by Fransiska Nangoy; Editing by Sunil Nair)
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