SE Asia Stocks-Indonesia at 2-wk high ahead of trade, inflation data
BANGKOK, April 1 (Reuters) - Indonesian shares rose almost 2 percent on Tuesday ahead of trade and inflation data, with investors building positions in banks and large-caps while the Thai index trimmed gains as Siam Cement and Shin Corp traded ex-dividend. Jakarta's Composite Index rose to 4,856.33, the highest since March 18, amid active buying in shares of Bank Mandiri, Bank Rakyat Indonesia and Astra International. Indonesia's trade balance is expected to have reverted to a modest surplus in February on a recovery in commodity prices, while inflation in March may have eased due to moderating food prices, a Reuters poll showed. "We believe a surplus trade balance will be positive for domestic cyclicals, particularly banks," broker Trimegah Securities said in a daily strategy note. The Thai SET index edged up 0.03 percent at 1,376.74 amid selective buying in shares of major banks such as Bangkok Bank while industrial conglomerate Siam Cement and telecoms group Shin Corporation were among the top losers. The market is expected to be range-bound, trading at 1,370-1,380 amid an investigation into alleged corruption in the government's rice pledging scheme, according to strategists at broker Maybank Kim Eng Securities. Thai Prime Minister Yingluck Shinawatra on Monday defended herself against negligence charges linked to a ruinous government rice pledging scheme that could lead to her removal from office. Thailand will announce its March inflation data, expected to rise slightly to 2.2 percent, the highest since last June, around 0400 GMT. Stocks in the region traded mixed in a narrow band, with Singapore up 0.4 percent while Malaysia and Vietnam fell into negative territory as MSCI's broadest index of Asia-Pacific shares outside Japan rose slightly by 0.3 percent. Sentiment in Asian shares was positive after China's official PMI survey showed manufacturing managed to continue expanding in March, and dovish comments from Federal Reserve Chair Janet Yellen. For Asian Companies click; For South East Asia Hot Stock reports, click; SOUTHEAST ASIAN STOCK MARKETS Change at 0338 GMT Market Current Prev Close Pct Move TR SE Asia Index* 411.45 409.08 +0.58 Singapore 3200.47 3188.62 +0.37 Kuala Lumpur 1843.30 1849.21 -0.32 Bangkok 1376.74 1376.26 +0.03 Jakarta 4856.33 4768.28 +1.87 Manila 6482.49 6428.71 +0.84 Ho Chi Minh 588.72 591.57 -0.48 * 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 Sunil Nair)
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