SE Asia Stocks-Thai shares retreat; confidence down on political woes
BANGKOK, April 3 (Reuters) - Thai shares retreated on Thursday after a survey showed consumer confidence fell further in March on concerns over lingering domestic political woes while stocks in Indonesia recouped losses from the previous session as bargain-hunting emerged in laggard stocks. Bangkok's SET index pared early gains and was down 0.6 percent at midday, with consumer and tourism-related stocks such as Krung Thai Bank and Thai Airways International among the top drags on the index. Thailand's consumer confidence slipped to its lowest in nearly 12.5 years in March, a survey showed on Thursday, underscoring again the impact of prolonged political unrest on Southeast Asia's second-biggest economy. "It is usual to we see consumer confidence drop continuously because of the political uncertainty. The households still have high-leverage household debt ... It's not easy for the consumer to spend at the moment," said economist Nuchjarin Panarode of Capital Nomura Securities. The index is expected to find support at 1,385, and then at 1,370, according to strategists at broker Phillip Securities. Jakarta's Composite Index edged up 0.4 percent. Shares of XL Axiata and Semen Indonesia were among the biggest gainers among top 45 large-caps. News that China is taking steps to stimulate its economy underpinned sentiment in the region. Among the bright spots, shares of Singapore-listed Noble Group jumped 4.4 percent, adding to a 5 percent rise on Wednesday, after COFCO Corp agreed to pay $1.5 billion for a majority stake in Noble Group's agribusiness. For Asian Companies click; For South East Asia Hot Stock reports, click; SOUTHEAST ASIAN STOCK MARKETS Change at 0604 GMT Market Current Prev Close Pct Move TR SE Asia Index* 413.46 413.65 -0.05 Singapore 3215.61 3192.78 +0.72 Kuala Lumpur 1851.68 1852.00 -0.02 Bangkok 1388.92 1396.62 -0.55 Jakarta 4889.43 4870.21 +0.39 Manila 6578.37 6587.72 -0.14 Ho Chi Minh 585.74 581.67 +0.70 * 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 and Pairat Temphairojana; Editing by Sunil Nair)
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