SE Asia Stocks -Most eke out more gains on ECB hopes
BANGKOK, Jan 22 (Reuters) - Most Southeast Asian stock markets rose on Thursday, ahead of an expected European Central Bank decision to buy bonds, with Singapore shares eking out gains for a fourth day while consumer stocks outperformed the broader Indonesian index. Singapore's benchmark Straits Times Index traded up 0.4 percent, with shares of United Overseas Bank Ltd rising in strong volume. The index has gained almost 2 percent since Monday as investors await a possible stimulus from ECB. Asian shares held near eight-week highs on Thursday after U.S. stocks edged up in a choppy Wednesday session and European shares rose for a fifth straight day to close at a seven-year high on Wednesday. Further gains in global shares could be limited, a broker said. "Given recent price actions, it is apparent that investors are pricing in some 'aggressive action by the ECB' and markets could get some disappointed should the ECB under-deliver," broker NRA Capital in Singapore said in a report. In Jakarta, shares of retailer Matahari Putra Prima jumped 5 percent, bringing Jakarta's composite index to the highest level since Sept. 8. Trimegah Securities advised investors to buy stocks in the consumer sector. "It is less prone to government intervention risks and will benefit from the declining commodity price," the broker said in a report. Shares of Bank Tabungan Negara fell 1 percent after an 8 percent drop on Wednesday. The share fall followed the subsidized mortgage lending rate cut by the government, broker Trimegah said. Stocks in Malaysia extended gains for a second day, hovering around a 7-week high. Thai shares were up 0.8 percent, building on a modest rise on Wednesday and stocks in Vietnam reversed the previous day's fall. Philippine shares bucked the trend, edging down 0.7 percent. Shares of Metropolitan Bank & Trust retreated as the lender sought to boost capital through a rights offer. For Asian Companies click; For South East Asia Hot Stock reports, click; SOUTHEAST ASIAN STOCK MARKETS Change at 0557 GMT Market Current Prev Close Pct Move Singapore 3368.26 3354.46 +0.41 Kuala Lumpur 1779.97 1770.09 +0.56 Bangkok 1549.97 1537.36 +0.82 Jakarta 5247.52 5215.27 +0.62 Manila 7419.08 7474.10 -0.74 Ho Chi Minh 570.03 569.12 +0.16 (Reporting by Viparat Jantraprap; Editing by Anupama Dwivedi)
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