SE Asia Stocks - Thai shares hit 14-month high after army leader appointed PM
BANGKOK, Aug 21 (Reuters) - Thai shares scaled 14-month highs on Thursday after military leader General Prayuth Chan-ocha was appointed prime minister, while Indonesian stocks fell amid caution ahead of a court ruling on last month's presidential election. Bangkok's key SET index was up 0.16 percent at 1,553.26 by midday, the highest since June 4, 2013 and extending its gains over the past two sessions when foreign investors were net buyers. Brokers expect the market to rise further, citing positive sentiment from the appointment of a new Prime Minister and a soon-to-be-formed government. "In our view, his formation of a new cabinet should be relatively quick and the new cabinet should be ready to work by early September," broker KGI Securities said in a report. Shares of housing developer Land & Houses Pcl rose for a fifth day to their highest since May 27, 2013, partly reflecting optimism about the local economy and political stability, brokers said. Indonesia's main index fell 0.7 percent to 5,156.47. Investors sold recent gainers, such as coal mining firms Adaro Energy and Harum Energy. Indonesia's highest court is widely expected on Thursday to uphold last month's hotly contested presidential election, paving the way for Joko Widodo to take over as leader of the world's third largest democracy. A ruling in favour of Jokowi could help the market recoup losses, brokers said. "We expect the constitutional court to maintain the Elections Commission's (KPU) decision of Jokowi's win; likely to push the market higher today," broker Trimegah Securities said in a report. In Kuala Lumpur, shares of palm plantation firm IOI Corp and its peer Kuala Lumpur Kepong were among the top percentage losers on the main index as Malaysian palm oil hovered near five-year lows. Singapore stocks were little-changed, while Asian shares came under pressure as a disappointing survey on Chinese manufacturing stoked concerns about the regional giant. In Hanoi, gains in large-caps such as PetroVietNam Gas helped push Vietnam's VN Index to its highest level in nearly five years. The Philippine stock market is closed for a public holiday and will reopen on Friday. For Asian Companies click; For South East Asia Hot Stock reports, click; SOUTHEAST ASIAN STOCK MARKETS Change at 0608 GMT Market Current Prev Close Pct Move TR SE Asia Index* 443.46 443.63 -0.26 Singapore 3326.70 3323.65 +0.09 Kuala Lumpur 1872.72 1878.89 -0.33 Bangkok 1553.26 1550.77 +0.16 Jakarta 5156.47 5190.17 -0.65 Ho Chi Minh 615.35 606.70 +1.43 * 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 Prateek Chatterjee)
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