SE Asia Stocks-Indonesia, Philippine hit record closing highs; Thai rebounds
BANGKOK, Feb 18 (Reuters) - The Indonesian stock index closed at a record high on Wednesday as banking shares rallied following an unexpected interest rate cut by the country's central bank, while Thai stocks rebounded with late bargain hunting taking the benchmark SET index above the key 1,600 level. Jakarta composite index finished up 1 percent at 5,390.44, topping the record close of 5,374.16 hit on Feb. 13. Shares of Bank Rakyat Indonesia jumped 4 percent and shares of Bank Mandiri advanced 1.9 percent, both closing at a record high. Lower interest rates were expected to boost loan growth and lift net interest margins for banks, brokers said. Indonesia's central bank cut its benchmark interest rate by 25 basis points to 7.5 percent after market close on Tuesday. The Thai index rose 1 percent to 1,603.14, recovering from a more than two-week closing low on Tuesday. Cement shares, such as Siam Cement, were up on strong volumes as the government's infrastructure projects lured investors. Public holidays in the region could keep investors on the sidelines, with the Thai stock market seen trading rangebound later in the week, brokers said. Most other markets in Southeast Asia ended the day higher as hopes on Greece's debt negotiations lifted global sentiment. The Philippine main index notched up gains for a fifth day to a record closing high of 7,803.45. Singapore and Malaysia, which traded for half a day, will remain closed through Friday for the Lunar New Year holidays. Indonesia and the Philippines will be shut on Thursday, while Vietnam will remain closed through Feb. 23. For Asian Companies click; For South East Asia Hot Stock reports, click; SOUTHEAST ASIAN STOCK MARKETS Change on day Market Current Prev Close Pct Move Singapore 3435.66 3415.91 +0.58 Kuala Lumpur 1807.87 1810.09 -0.12 Bangkok 1603.14 1587.75 +0.97 Jakarta 5390.44 5337.50 +0.99 Manila 7803.45 7793.40 +0.13 Change on year Market Current End 2014 Pct Move Singapore 3435.66 3365.15 +2.10 Kuala Lumpur 1807.87 1761.25 +2.65 Bangkok 1603.14 1497.67 +7.04 Jakarta 5390.44 5226.95 +3.13 Manila 7803.45 7230.57 +7.92 Ho Chi Minh 587.24 545.63 +7.63 (Reporting by Viparat Jantraprap; Editing by Biju Dwarakanath)
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