SE Asia Stocks-Mostly higher; Singapore near 3-month peak
BANGKOK, March 28 (Reuters) - Most Southeast Asian stock markets gained in line with broader Asia on Friday amid hopes of stimulus in China and portfolio buying towards the end of the quarter, with the Singapore benchmark index heading for its biggest weekly gain since September. The key Straits Times Index was up 0.5 percent at 3,176.57, its highest since Jan. 2. It was also on track to end the week 3.4 percent higher. Institutional buyers bought shares such as Jardine Matheson , while battered property stocks, including City Developments and Hongkong Land Holdings, regained their recent lost ground. NRA Capital analysts said in a daily strategy note that they "expect the gains to continue into Monday which is the last trading day of the month." Active portfolio buying could help lift shares across exchanges but investors would be selective amid mixed earnings results in markets like Indonesia and ahead of a set of monthly economic indicators next week. Jakarta's Composite Index rose 0.8 percent, poised for a weekly gain of 1.3 percent after a drop of almost 4 percent a week earlier. Optimism about the country's election this year has sent the index nearly 19 percent higher year-to-date in terms of U.S. dollar, making it Asia's best performer. Shares of Perusahaan Gas Negara extended gains on the week, thanks to the company's attractive dividend payout, while Alam Sutera Realty dropped 3.2 percent after the property firm reported a weaker-than-expected earnings for the fourth quarter, according to broker Trimegah Securities. In Bangkok, shares trimmed earlier gains after data showed manufacturing output fell for the eleventh straight month. The SET index was up 0.3 percent, on track to end the week nearly flat amid jitters about the domestic political unrest. Shares of Advanced Info Service and Kasikornbank were among the top actively traded. "Political temperature looks set to rise over this weekend well until next week amid planned mass rallies by anti-government on March 29 and pro-government on April 5," strategists at broker Phillip Securities wrote in a report. Grenades were thrown at the offices of Thailand's anti-corruption agency, which has summoned the prime minister to answer charges of dereliction of duty next week, as protesters trying to oust her prepared for a big weekend rally. For Asian Companies click; For South East Asia Hot Stock reports, click; SOUTHEAST ASIAN STOCK MARKETS Change at 0452 GMT Market Current Prev Close Pct Move TR SE Asia Index* 405.37 403.03 +0.58 Singapore 3176.57 3162.46 +0.45 Kuala Lumpur 1842.05 1846.87 -0.26 Bangkok 1359.05 1355.95 +0.23 Jakarta 4760.29 4723.06 +0.79 Manila 6331.72 6315.69 +0.25 Ho Chi Minh 592.50 590.14 +0.40 * 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; Editing by Subhranshu Sahu)
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