SE Asia Stocks-Cautious ahead of ECB meet; Thailand falls more than 2 pct
By Krishna V Kurup Sept 8 (Reuters) - Most Southeast Asian stock markets were sluggish on Thursday, with Thailand falling more than 2 percent, as investors waited for a crucial European Central Bank meeting later in the day for clues regarding its monetary policy. Nearly all analysts polled by Reuters expect ECB rates to remain unchanged, though there is speculation that President Mario Draghi will announce an extension of its 80 billion euro of monthly asset buys. 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 nearly two years. Thai shares ended down 2.1 percent, their lowest close in two months. Siam Commercial Bank Pcl lost 1.3 percent, while Siam Cement Pcl was down 1.5 percent. Boost from ECB (meet) and Chinese data may not be that beneficial for the Thai market in the near term as local factors might trigger a correction, said Rakpong Chaisuparakul, an analyst with KGI Securities Thailand. "Thailand may continue to underperform in the near term," he said. Vietnam shares closed 0.7 percent higher, snapping four sessions of losses. Utilities and healthcare stocks led the index with Petrovietnam Gas Joint Stock Corp rising 2.4 percent and Dhg Pharmaceutical Joint-Stock Co gaining 3 percent. The Vietnamese market has not been following the regional trend over the last few days with some buying opportunities emerging during the day, said Fiachra MacCana, head of research at Ho Chi Minh Securities. "The underlying trend is unclear with the market bumping into stiff resistance at higher price points," MacCana said. Philippine shares closed 0.6 percent higher, after falling to its lowest in more than 2 months in early trade. Financials and telecom stocks led the gainers with Ayala Land Inc rising 0.7 percent, while PLDT Inc was up 3.2 percent. Singapore was flat, while Indonesian shares fell marginally. As of 0940 GMT, broader Asian shares were up marginally, with MSCI's broadest index of Asia-Pacific shares outside Japan gaining 0.2 percent. For Asian Companies click; SOUTHEAST ASIAN STOCK MARKETS STOCK MARKETS Change on day Market Current Prev close Pct Move Singapore 2894.48 2893.65 0.03 Bangkok 1455.38 1487.2 -2.14 Manila 7667.07 7619.1 0.63 Jakarta 5371.078 5381.354 -0.19 Kuala Lumpur 1691.38 1689.57 0.11 Ho Chi Minh 666.07 661.28 0.72 Change on year Market Current End 2015 Pct Move Singapore 2894.48 2882.73 0.41 Bangkok 1455.38 1288.02 12.99 Manila 7667.07 6952.08 10.28 Jakarta 5371.078 4593.008 16.94 Kuala Lumpur 1691.38 1692.51 -0.07 Ho Chi Minh 666.07 579.03 15.03 (Reporting by Krishna V Kurup in Bengaluru; Editing by Biju Dwarakanath)
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