SE Asia Stocks-Mixed; Thai index hits highest close in more than 5 mths
JAKARTA, April 19 (Reuters) - Southeast Asian stock markets traded mixed on Tuesday with the Thai index extending gains to close at its highest since Nov. 4, while stocks in the Philippines were down amid uncertainty ahead of a presidential election in May. Thailand's SET index gained 1.2 percent, with shares of Siam Cement PCL rising 4.7 percent to their highest since Oct. 2015. Siam Cement gained 3.6 percent on Monday when Nomura raised its target price for the stock. The Thai benchmark rose for a fifth session on Tuesday. "Much of the investors' attention may now be shifting to earnings as the first-quarter earnings season is just around the corner," broker Phillip Capital in Bangkok said in a note. "In our view, Thai stocks are no longer cheap after the SET index's FY16 forward P/E has climbed back to 15x, but we believe earnings plays may support the market's downside," it said. Some financial companies in Thailand have started reporting earnings this week. Taking cues from an Asian stocks rally, Singapore's Straits Times Index rose 1.2 percent, closing at its highest since Nov. 12. MSCI's broadest index of Asia-Pacific shares outside Japan was up 1 percent. Meanwhile, the Philippine stock index fell 0.4 percent, extending losses to a third day, amid political uncertainty. "Locally, volumes are expected to remain subdued as investors continue to take a wait and see attitude with elections nearing in less than three weeks," SB Equities said in a note to clients. A presidential election in the Philippines could go down to the wire after an offensive gaffe by front-runner Rodrigo Duterte about a rape victim caused outrage and could mean a loss of crucial swing votes with just three weeks to go. Stocks in Malaysia fell 0.4 percent, while those in Indonesia rose 0.3 percent. For Asian Companies click; SOUTHEAST ASIA STOCK MARKETS Change on day Market Current Prev close Pct move Singapore 2951.81 2917.75 1.17 Kuala Lumpur 1711.15 1717.68 -0.38 Bangkok 1416.00 1398.77 1.23 Jakarta 4881.93 4865.53 0.34 Manila 7215.09 7243.4 -0.39 Ho Chi Minh 568.28 579.86 -2.00 Change on year Market Current End 2015 Pct move Singapore 2951.81 2882.73 2.40 Kuala Lumpur 1711.15 1692.51 1.10 Bangkok 1416 1288.02 9.94 Jakarta 4881.93 4593.008 6.29 Manila 7215.09 6952.08 3.78 Ho Chi Minh 568.28 579.03 -1.86 (Reporting by Fransiska Nangoy; Editing by Biju Dwarakanath)
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