SE Asia Stocks -Singapore at 14-mnth high; property shares lead Philippine rise
BANGKOK, July 31 (Reuters) - Singapore stocks scaled a new 14-month high on Thursday with active buying in index heavyweights while property shares such as Ayala Land outperformed in the Philippines on expectations the central bank may not raise interest rates. The benchmark Straits Times Index, which measures the movements of 30 large-cap firms' stocks, rose 0.9 percent to the highest since May 2013, with trading volume of 173.2 million shares, 1.24 times of a full day average over the past 30 days. Portfolio managers were in the market but buying interest was expected to be short lived, a trader in the city-state said, adding "the market is rising because of end-month inflows and should be a one off move." Shares of DBS Group Holdings Ltd climbed almost 2 percent to the highest since December 2007, while Singapore Telecommunications Ltd gained 1.8 percent, both among the top percentage gainers on the index. In Manila, Ayala Land shares climbed to a more-than three-week high and Robinson Land Corp rose 0.9 percent, after three consecutive sessions of falls, ahead of the central bank's monetary policy review later in the day. "I do not think rates will move up. The central bank knows that the recent rise in consumer prices is not caused by increased demand but rather by a short term supply squeeze," said Joseph Roxas, president of broker Eagle Equities in Manila. Twelve economists polled by Reuters were split down the middle on the main rate. Six expected no change but the rest forecast the rate would be raised by 25 basis points to 3.75 percent, which would be the first rise in three years. Elsewhere, Thai shares recovered from a four-day fall amid selective buying in bank stocks such as Bangkok Bank on hopes of dividend payments. Shares in Vietnam rose 0.7 percent on cautious buying. Most Southeast Asian stock markets were on track to end the month higher, with Singapore climbing nearly 4 percent, among the region's outperformers. Indonesia, which remained shut through the week, rose 4.3 percent in July. For Asian Companies click; For South East Asia Hot Stock reports, click; SOUTHEAST ASIAN STOCK MARKETS Change at 0602 GMT Market Current Prev Close Pct Move TR SE Asia Index* 442.91 442.62 +0.07 Singapore 3382.63 3353.65 +0.86 Kuala Lumpur 1874.64 1878.34 -0.20 Bangkok 1522.55 1518.79 +0.25 Manila 6874.49 6867.59 +0.10 Ho Chi Minh 593.59 589.33 +0.72 * 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 Karen Lema in MANILA; Editing by Anupama Dwivedi)
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