SE Asia Stocks-Sluggish as investors eye ECB meet; Thailand down 1 pct
By Krishna V Kurup Sept 8 (Reuters) - Most Southeast Asian stocks were trading largely lower on Thursday, in line with Asian peers, as investors waited for clarity on further easing steps and where key policy rates are headed when the European Central Bank meets later in the day. The ECB is expected to keep policy rates unchanged, but is likely to take further stimulus measures by extending its asset purchase programme by the end of this year, according to a Reuters poll. Broader Asian shares dropped after four days of gains which took them to their highest since late July last year. MSCI's broadest index of Asia-Pacific shares outside Japan was down 0.3 percent at 0500 GMT. Investors also shrugged off data showing China's August exports fell less than markets had expected, while imports unexpectedly expanded for the first time in 22 months. Thai shares fell as much as 1.4 percent, their lowest in nearly 2 months. Consumer staples and industrial stocks lost ground, with Big C Supercenter Pcl falling 0.5 percent and CP All Pcl down 1.2 percent. Apart from the global factors (ECB meeting and Chinese trade data), investors are worried about foreign inflows into the Thai market, said Rakpong Chaisuparakul, an analyst with KGI Thailand. Philippines rose marginally after falling to its lowest in over 2 months in early trade. Financials and telecom stocks climbed, with SM Prime Holdings Inc rising 1.5 percent and PLDT Inc gaining 1.4 percent. Singapore fell 0.4 percent, dragged down by financials and consumer staples, while Vietnam rose marginally. Indonesia and Malaysia were flat. For Asian Companies click; SOUTHEAST ASIAN STOCK MARKETS STOCK MARKETS Change at 0500 GMT Market Current Prev close Pct Move Singapore 2882.37 2893.65 -0.39 Bangkok 1472.16 1487.2 -1.01 Manila 7638.13 7619.1 0.25 Jakarta 5378.037 5381.354 -0.06 Kuala Lumpur 1688.91 1689.57 -0.04 Ho Chi Minh 663.05 661.28 0.27 Change on year Market Current End 2015 Pct Move Singapore 2882.37 2882.73 -0.01 Bangkok 1472.16 1288.02 14.30 Manila 7638.13 6952.08 9.87 Jakarta 5378.037 4593.008 17.09 Kuala Lumpur 1688.91 1692.51 -0.21 Ho Chi Minh 663.05 579.03 14.51 (Reporting by Krishna V Kurup in Bengaluru; Additional reporting by Sindhu Chandrasekaran; Editing by Biju Dwarakanath)
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