SE Asia Stocks -Thai shares nearly flat after Q4 GDP growth miss
BANGKOK, Feb 16 (Reuters) - Thai shares eked out small gains on Monday, helped by bargain hunting in selected large caps, while other Southeast Asian stock markets were rangebound as investors stayed on the defensive ahead of the Lunar New Year holidays. The key Thai SET index was a tad higher at midday, led by a 3.2 percent jump in shares of Siam Cement amid hopes about its petrochemical business. Shares of Energy firm PTT, an index heavyweight, fell 0.8 percent as global oil prices turned lower while the newly-listed Jasmine Broadband Internet Infrastructure Fund's units traded at 9.75 baht, below their initial public offering price of 10 baht. Sentiment was broadly weak and players turned cautious over the outlook for interest rates after data showed Thailand's economy grew a less-than-expected 1.7 percent in October-December from the prior three months. "Any disappointment in the fourth quarter figure could raise the probability of Thailand's monetary policy committee (MPC) cutting the policy interest rate from the current 2 percent," strategists at broker KGI Securities wrote in a report. Singapore's key index edged down 0.1 percent, with shares of Oversea-Chinese Banking Corp set to extend losses for a third day after the company's quarterly earnings missed analysts' forecasts. Jakarta's composite index was down 0.4 percent, amid selling in recently-rallying large caps such as Kalbe Farma and Telkom Indonesia. Indonesia posted a trade surplus of $709.4 million in January, following a $186.8 million surplus in December, with imports contracting more than expected, the statistics bureau said on Monday. Stocks in Malaysia headed for a second straight day of gains while shares in the Philippines added 0.2 percent to 7,786.24, above their Feb. 9 record close of 7,782.57. Vietnam's stock market will be closed from Monday through Feb. 23 for the Lunar New Year holidays. Malaysia and Singapore will be closed on Thursday and Friday, and Indonesia and the Philippines on Thursday. For Asian Companies click; For South East Asia Hot Stock reports, click; SOUTHEAST ASIAN STOCK MARKETS Change at 0605 GMT Market Current Prev Close Pct Move Singapore 3421.82 3426.22 -0.13 Kuala Lumpur 1805.60 1800.95 +0.26 Bangkok 1616.51 1615.89 +0.04 Jakarta 5353.63 5374.17 -0.38 Manila 7786.24 7773.45 +0.16 (Reporting by Viparat Jantraprap; Editing by Anupama Dwivedi)
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