SE Asia Stocks-Thai stocks outperform in March; jitters remain
BANGKOK, March 31 (Reuters) - Thai stocks closed at their highest in almost two weeks on Monday, marking gains for a second straight month, as month-end buying lifted large-caps and banking shares while the Singapore index climbed to near four-month highs led by property stocks. Bangkok's SET index closed up 0.5 percent at 1,376.26, the highest since March 13, advancing 3.7 percent on the month, making it Southeast Asia's best performer. Shares of Kasikornbank, Siam Commercial Bank and Shin Corporation were among those actively traded amid buying via a number of block trades. The Thai bourse has brought in a net $323 million worth of foreign inflows so far in the month to Friday, the first net inflow in five months. Concerns over the political impact on the economy could keep risk appetite in check, brokers said, as the Bank of Thailand expected the domestic economy to contract in the first quarter after consumption and investment fell. Prime Minister Yingluck Shinawatra on Monday showed up to defend herself against charges linked to a ruinous government rice pledging scheme that could lead to her removal from office. Singapore's key Straits Times Index finished up 0.5 percent, climbing 2.5 percent in March, a second consecutive month of gains. Investors bought recently battered property shares such as CapitaLand and CapitaMalls Asia . Stocks in Malaysia, the Philippines and Vietnam edged slightly higher during the month. Indonesia, which was shut on Monday, jumped 3.2 percent for the month, among the region's outperformers. Foreign investors have bought 24.6 trillion rupiah ($2.17 billion) worth of Indonesian shares so far this year to Friday, sending the index 19.5 percent higher in U.S. dollar terms, making it Asia's best performer. 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* 409.13 406.94 +0.54 Singapore 3188.62 3172.17 +0.52 Kuala Lumpur 1849.21 1850.73 -0.08 Bangkok 1376.26 1368.90 +0.54 Manila 6428.71 6359.62 +1.09 Ho Chi Minh 591.57 594.29 -0.46 Change on year Market Current End 2013 Pct Move TR SE Asia Index* 409.13 388.37 +5.35 Singapore 3188.62 3167.43 +0.67 Kuala Lumpur 1849.21 1866.96 -0.95 Bangkok 1376.26 1298.71 +5.97 Jakarta -- 4274.18 +11.56 Manila 6428.71 5889.83 +9.15 Ho Chi Minh xxx.xx 504.63 +17.23 * The Thomson Reuters South East Asia Index is a highly representative indicator of stocks listed in Indonesia, Malaysia, the Philippines, Singapore, Thailand and Vietnam. ($1 = 11360.0000 Indonesian rupiah) (Reporting by Viparat Jantraprap; Editing by Sunil Nair)
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