SE Asia Stocks-Strong U.S. home sales data boosts risk appetite
By Aparajita Saxena May 25 (Reuters) - Southeast Asian stocks closed higher on Wednesday as investor risk appetite got a boost on data showing new home sales in the U.S. raced to a more than eight-year peak in April, while rising global oil prices helped energy shares gain. U.S. home prices also hit a record high, with the report coming in the wake of fairly upbeat data on home resales and residential construction, offering further evidence of a pick-up in economic growth early in the second quarter. "Investors are less concerned about the global slowdown because of upbeat data coming out of the U.S. and Europe," said Grace Aller, an analyst with Manila-based AP Securities. European markets were higher across the board after a debt deal with Greece. Philippine stocks closed up 1.5 percent, extending gains into a third session, led by financials. Bank of the Philippine Islands gained 2.84 pct. Crude oil prices nearing $50 levels has been putting a lot of tailwinds into Philippine markets, said Victor Felix from AB Capital Securities Inc in Manila. U.S. crude prices hit a seven-month high at $49.45 after industry data suggested a larger-than-expected drawdown in U.S. crude inventories last week. No surprise moves from an OPEC meeting slated for June 2 will bode well for Philippine stocks, Felix added. Indonesia closed higher, rebounding from Tuesday's losses. Oil and gas company Perusahaan Gas Negara (Persero) Tbk PT rose 5.2 percent. Financials also gained after Indonesia's central bank said it may ease monetary policy again next month. Thailand closed up nearly 1 percent, led by energy stocks, while Malaysia cut early losses to close marginally higher. Singapore's Straits Times index ended 0.6 percent higher, with shares of oil-rig firm Keppel Corp up 0.8 percent. Asian shares climbed, with MSCI's broadest index of Asia-Pacific shares outside Japan rising 1.92 percent, its biggest intraday percentage gain since March 30. For Asian Companies click; SOUTHEAST ASIAN STOCK MARKETS STOCK MARKETS Change on day Market Current Previous Pct Move Close Singapore 2766.66 2750.23 0.60 Bangkok 1397.63 1384.26 0.97 Manila 7463.95 7356.72 1.46 Jakarta 4772.977 4710.785 1.32 Kuala Lumpur 1630.96 1625.84 0.31 Ho Chi Minh 611.89 611.62 0.04 Change on year Market Current End 2015 Pct Move Singapore 2766.66 2882.73 -4.03 Bangkok 1397.63 1288.02 8.51 Manila 7463.95 6952.08 7.36 Jakarta 4772.977 4593.008 3.92 Kuala Lumpur 1630.96 1692.51 -3.64 Ho Chi Minh 611.89 579.03 5.68 (Reporting by Aparajita Saxena; Editing by Biju Dwarakanath)
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