SE Asia Stocks -Thai shares retreat; suspension of 4G auction hits large-cap telecoms
BANGKOK, July 18 (Reuters) - Thai shares retreated on Friday as the suspension of an auction of fourth-generation (4G) mobile licences triggered sell-offs in telecoms stocks, while sentiment in Southeast Asia was broadly weak after the downing of a Malaysia Airlines passenger plane over Ukraine. Thailand's military government suspended the 4G auction for one year with immediate effect, a move that could lead to a loss in investment and revenue in a sector that accounts for a tenth of the economy. Shares of the country's biggest telecoms firm, Advanced Info Service Pcl, dropped 5.3 percent, while second-ranked Total Access Communication fell 2.7 percent and No. 3 player True Corporation eased 0.8 percent. The suspension made the growth outlook for telecom operators less attractive, said Parin Kitchartornpitak, a senior analyst with KTB Securities. "4G is a growth story for the telecoms firms," he said. The benchmark SET index was down 0.36 percent, trimming its gain so far in the week to 0.8 percent. In Kuala Lumpur, shares of Malaysia Airlines System Bhd (MAS) fell sharply after one of its planes was downed in Ukraine, raising pressure on the state-run carrier to try to restore investor confidence after the second major disaster in months. Malaysia's key index was down 0.5 percent, heading for a similar weekly loss. Among winners on the week, Singapore is poised to extend gains for a fourth week, adding 0.3 percent, and Indonesia is set to rise 1.1 percent for a third week. Asian shares sagged on Friday and a drop in Treasury bond yields put pressure on the dollar after the downing of a Malaysian Airlines passenger plane over Ukraine sent investors scurrying into defensive assets. For Asian Companies click; For South East Asia Hot Stock reports, click; SOUTHEAST ASIAN STOCK MARKETS Change at 0752 GMT Market Current Prev Close Pct Move TR SE Asia Index* 440.63 440.90 -0.06 Singapore 3304.47 3306.89 -0.07 Kuala Lumpur 1874.11 1883.14 -0.48 Bangkok 1532.39 1535.66 -0.21 Jakarta 5075.19 5071.20 +0.08 Manila 6853.07 6867.36 -0.21 Ho Chi Minh 596.26 590.37 +1.00 * 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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