SE Asia Stocks -Thai index rises; Banpu outperforms large-caps
BANGKOK, Feb 19 (Reuters) - Thai stocks rose for a second day on Thursday as investors sought for laggard big-cap and dividend-yielding stocks in a reporting season but public holidays in the region would keep most players on the sidelines, limiting any strong rally. Thai SET index traded up 0.14 percent at 1,605.31, extending the gain on Wednesday and further rebounding from a more than two-week closing low hit on Tuesday. Among outperformers, shares of grocery retailer Big C Supercenter ticked up 0.9 percent. Broker Bualuang Securities said Big C's forward earnings multiple of 23.4 was the cheapest in the retail sector. Shares of coal miner Banpu jumped 2.7 percent, the best performer on the 50 large cap index. Banpu reported a 5 percent rise in 2014 net profit as a strong performance from its power business helped offset a weak coal business, setting a dividend payment of 0.7 baht per share for the second half of 2014. The interim dividend brought full-year 2014 dividend to 1.20 baht, which broker Maybank Kim Eng Securities said was better than its estimate of 1 baht per share. The SET is expected to move in a narrow range of 1,595-1,610 for the day, strategists at Maybank wrote in a report. "Foreigners and local institutions tend to slow their investments during the Chinese New Year," they said in a report. Other Southeast Asian stock markets are closed for the Lunar New Year holidays. Indonesia and the Philippines will resume trading on Friday, while Singapore and Malaysia reopen on Monday. Vietnam will remain closed through Feb. 23. MSCI's broadest index of Asia-Pacific shares outside Japan was near flat, with major Asian stock markets on holiday including China, Taiwan and South Korea. For Asian Companies click; For South East Asia Hot Stock reports, click; SOUTHEAST ASIAN STOCK MARKETS Change at 0358 GMT Market Current Prev Close Pct Move Bangkok 1605.31 1603.14 +0.14 (Reporting by Viparat Jantraprap; Editing by Gopakumar Warrier)
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