SE Asia Stocks - Most up; selective buying in Indonesia, Thailand
BANGKOK, July 24 (Reuters) - Most Southeast Asian stock markets rose on Thursday as a strong reading on Chinese manufacturing lifted broader sentiment, while better-than-expected earnings boosted shares of PT Bank Central Asia Tbk and Big C Supercenter Pcl. Activity in China's factory sector expanded at its fastest pace in 18 months in July, a preliminary HSBC survey showed, helping Asian stocks edge higher. Investors in Indonesia appeared shifting focus from the presidential election to solid quarterly results from companies. Earlier this week, Jakarta Governor Joko "Jokowi" Widodo was declared the winner of the presidential election, putting to rest much speculation around the result in the last few days. Jakarta's composite index edged up 0.2 percent by midday. Shares of Bank Central Asia, Indonesia's biggest bank by market value, gained almost 1 percent at one point, with broker Trimegah rating the stock a "buy". "BBCA was able to book solid performance in the second quarter of 2014 in the midst of rising interest rates, thanks to its sound funding composition," it said in a report. The benchmark index had gained more than 5 percent up to midday on Thursday from late June, outperforming the region, with foreign investors being net buyers almost every session so far in July. The Thai SET index was up 0.2 percent at midday. Shares of retailer Big C Supercenter jumped as much as 6.5 percent to their highest since May 2013 after the company's quarterly net profit came in above expectations due to new store openings. Broker Phillip Securities capped near-term resistance of the SET at 1,550, citing net foreign selling of Thai shares for the first time in 12 sessions on Wednesday and the market's high valuations. "We believe the room for upside would continue to be limited after current price-to-earnings levels are approaching two standard deviations," it said in a report. In Hanoi, the benchmark VN Index rebounded 0.8 percent, amid gains in large-caps, and foreign buying. For Asian Companies click; For South East Asia Hot Stock reports, click; SOUTHEAST ASIAN STOCK MARKETS Change AT 0553 GMT Market Current Prev Close Pct Move TR SE Asia Index* 446.42 446.61 -0.04 Singapore 3351.40 3340.70 +0.32 Kuala Lumpur 1872.30 1871.83 +0.03 Bangkok 1544.23 1541.56 +0.17 Jakarta 5102.99 5093.23 +0.19 Manila 6884.74 6892.92 -0.12 Ho Chi Minh 602.14 597.50 +0.78 * 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; Additional reporting by HANOI bureau; Editing by Prateek Chatterjee)
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