SE Asia Stocks-Thai shares rebound; Philippine weak wary of rate outlook
BANGKOK, March 25 (Reuters) - Thai stocks recouped early losses and ended 0.3 percent higher on Tuesday after late buying in energy shares and selected large caps, but market breadth remained weak due to rising political risks. Gains in shares of the country's top three firms by market cap -- PTT, PTT Exploration and Production, and Siam Commercial Bank -- helped lift the broader SET index. Institutional investors were buying shares with the quarter nearing an end but players in most parts were cautious, brokers said. Anti-government demonstrators in Thailand resumed street protests this week after lying low for weeks, piling pressure on increasingly beleaguered Prime Minister Yingluck Shinawatra, who is expected to face impeachment within days. Most Southeast Asian stock markets ended lower as shares in Asia were in a defensive mode amid uncertainty over Ukraine and the global economy. The Philippine index fell 1 percent to its lowest close since Feb. 26 ahead of the central bank meeting on interest rate. Banking shares were broadly weak, led by a 3.5 percent drop in Bank of the Philippine Islands. The Philippine central bank is expected to keep its policy rate steady at a record low of 3.5 percent on Thursday, but hawkish comments from the governor have reinforced views interest rates may be raised as early as in the second quarter. For Asian Companies click; For South East Asia Hot Stock reports, click; SOUTHEAST ASIAN STOCK MARKETS Change on day Market Current Prev Close Pct Move TR SE Asia Index* 401.08 401.62 -0.13 Singapore 3104.17 3111.83 -0.25 Kuala Lumpur 1837.17 1833.85 +0.18 Bangkok 1354.01 1349.90 +0.30 Jakarta 4703.09 4720.42 -0.37 Manila 6336.34 6400.67 -1.01 Ho Chi Minh 601.85 607.55 -0.94 Change on year Market Current End 2013 Pct Move TR SE Asia Index* 401.08 388.37 +3.27 Singapore 3104.17 3167.43 -2.00 Kuala Lumpur 1837.17 1866.96 -1.60 Bangkok 1354.01 1298.71 +4.26 Jakarta 4703.09 4274.18 +10.03 Manila 6336.34 5889.83 +7.58 Ho Chi Minh 601.85 504.63 +19.27 * The Thomson Reuters South East Asia Index is a highly representative indicator of stocks listed in Indonesia, Malaysia, the Philippines, Singapore, Thailand and Vietnam. (Reporting by Viparat Jantraprap; Additional reporting by Erik dela Cruz in MANILA; Editing by Subhranshu Sahu)
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