SE Asia Stocks-Malaysia hits 3-1/2 month high on crude gains; Indonesia down
By Anusha Ravindranath Aug 15 (Reuters) - Indonesian shares fell to two-week lows on Monday after a sharp drop in July exports and imports dampened investor sentiment, while Malaysian stocks hit three-and-a-half month highs as energy stocks gained on firm oil prices. Indonesia's exports and imports plunged on an annual basis in July, the statistics bureau said, confounding expectations for the first growth in 22 months. The Jakarta Composite Index closed 1.1 percent lower, after declining as much as 1.5 percent earlier in the session to its lowest since Aug. 1. Meanwhile, sentiment in Asian markets got a boost after a rally in Chinese stocks helped offset news of Japan's economic growth slowing to a halt last quarter. Malaysian shares hit a three-and-a-half month high, helped by energy stocks after oil prices rose to fresh highs for the month of August. Sapurakencana Petroleum Bhd gained 4.7 percent. Thai shares closed marginally lower, after hitting a 15-month peak on forecast-beating second-quarter GDP growth data. Thailand's economy beat expectations in the second quarter to grow at its fastest annual rate in 13 quarters, due to high state and tourist spending. In the long term, the news of GDP growth will create positive sentiment, said Sumek Chantrasuriyarat, an analyst with Thailand-based KGI, adding that the impact of bomb blast might not be serious and that the overall market sentiment seemed to be neutral. Four people were killed and dozens were wounded in a series of bomb and arson attacks in some of Thailand's best-known southern resorts and islands, last week. Philippine shares recovered from earlier losses to close marginally higher, while Vietnam ended up 0.57 percent, driven by oil and gas stocks including Petrovietnam Gas Joint Stock Corp. Singapore shares closed almost steady with financial stocks among the top losers. For Asian Companies click; SOUTHEAST ASIAN STOCK MARKETS STOCK MARKETS Change on the day Market Current previous Pct Move close Singapore 2867.21 2867.4 -0.01 Bangkok 1549.11 1552.64 -0.23 Manila 7960.17 7955.86 0.05 Jakarta 5320.561 5377.196 -1.05 Kuala Lumpur 1690.33 1684.15 0.37 Ho Chi Minh 659.47 655.71 0.57 Change so far this year Market Current End prev yr Pct Move Singapore 2867.21 2882.73 -0.54 Bangkok 1549.11 1288.02 20.27 Manila 7960.17 6952.08 14.50 Jakarta 5320.561 4593.008 15.84 Kuala Lumpur 1690.33 1692.51 -0.13 Ho Chi Minh 659.47 579.03 13.89 (Reporting by Anusha Ravindranath in Bengaluru; Editing by Subhranshu Sahu)
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