SE Asia Stocks -Philippine shares set to lead January gains
BANGKOK, Jan 30 (Reuters) - Most Southeast Asian stock markets edged higher on Friday, with the Philippine index heading for its biggest monthly gain in almost a year but the Thai benchmark slipped into negative territory amid selling in the low free float Bank of Ayudhya (BAY) shares. Asian shares edged up on Friday, taking heart from a late earnings-led surge on Wall Street even as continuing concerns about global growth tempered gains while oil prices dipped as analysts said the outlook remained weak. The Philippine index was up 0.8 percent, recovering from a fall on the previous day. It is heading for a gain of 6.2 percent in January, the biggest since February 2014 and is the best performer in the region thanks to its strong economic outlook. Energy shares rebounded, led by Petron Corp and Energy Development Corp. The Thai SET index eased 0.1 percent to 1,584.96, trimming some early losses, with Bank of Ayudhya shares falling 1 percent. BAY shares have risen by more than half so far in the month, bringing SET's gain to 5.8 percent, among Asia's outperformers. Broker Maybank Kim Eng Securities said in a report the SET index could break 1,600, depending on movement in Bank of Ayudhya shares. Broker Phillip Securities expected SET to trade in a range of 1,575-1,600, citing BAY shares among market risks. "The continued effects of extreme volatility in BAY shares may keep the downside risk in the Thai stock market intact while the pace of foreign buying dissipated for the first time on Thursday," strategists at Phillip wrote in a report. The Thai bourse reported net foreign buying of shares worth 755 million baht ($23 million) on Thursday, compared with a daily net purchase of more than 3 billion baht ($91.80 million) in the previous two days. Stocks in Singapore and Malaysia were a tad higher, with Indonesia up 0.5 percent. Vietnam bucked the trend, sliding 1.5 percent. "Today's sentiment should be slightly improved given Wall Street's overnight turnaround but investors would be more cautious of the recent volatility which would likely cap upside," broker NRA Capital said of the Singapore stock market. All Southeast Asian stock markets are heading for gains in January, with Vietnam climbing 5.8 percent while Singapore, Malaysia and Indonesia each more than 1 percent higher. The Malaysian stock market will be closed on Monday and Tuesday for public holidays. For Asian Companies click; For South East Asia Hot Stock reports, click; SOUTHEAST ASIAN STOCK MARKETS Change at 0604 GMT Market Current Prev Close Pct Move Singapore 3425.32 3419.05 +0.18 Kuala Lumpur 1784.16 1782.18 +0.11 Bangkok 1584.96 1586.40 -0.09 Jakarta 5288.39 5262.72 +0.49 Manila 7680.67 7617.30 +0.83 Ho Chi Minh 574.62 583.28 -1.48 ($1 = 32.6800 baht) (Reporting by Viparat Jantraprap; Additional reporting by Yantoultra Ngui in Kuala Lumpur; Editing by Anupama Dwivedi)
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