SE Asia Stocks-Malaysia hits over 1-wk low before rate move; eye on ECB meet

jueves 5 de marzo de 2015 03:26 GYT

BANGKOK, March 5 (Reuters) - The key Malaysian index touched
a more than 1-week low on Thursday as investors awaited a
decision by the central bank on interest rates while other share
markets in Southeast Asia eased ahead of the European Central
Bank's policy meeting.
    The Kuala Lumpur composite index was down 1.04
percent at 1,806.49, the lowest since Feb. 23. Selling was broad
based, with 26 out of 30 stocks measured by the index declining.
    Top losers were shares of SapuraKencana Petroleum 
which dropped 8 percent after Vice Chairman Mokhzani Mahathir
    Interest rate-sensitive banking shares were trading lower,
led by shares of Malayan Banking, Public Bank
 and CIMB Group Holdings, amid strong
    Economists in a Reuters poll were unanimous in their
forecasts for Bank Negara to keep its overnight policy rate
unchanged at 3.25 percent amid softening economic conditions as
an easing may prompt more capital outflows. 
    The rate announcement is expected after market close.
    Asian stocks slipped on Thursday after Wall Street continued
to pull back from record highs ahead of Friday's closely-watched
U.S. jobs data, while the nervous euro languished at a 11-year
low prior to the European Central Bank's policy meeting.
    Stocks in Singapore headed for a second straight
day of losses, Vietnam fell after two successive sessions
of gains and Thai shares edged down 0.3 percent to a
six-week low.
    "Upside is still limited by external uncertainties and also
internal issues like the coming MPC meeting on March 11," broker
KGI Securities said in a report.
    Morgan Stanley remained 'overweight' on Asia as recent
monetary policy easing in the region, including China, India and
Indonesia should benefit Asian equities, it said in a report
dated March 4.
    On ASEAN, it maintained an 'overweight' rating on Singapore
and 'underweight' rating on Thailand. Its equalweight-rated
countries were Malaysia, the Philippines and Indonesia.
    Elsewhere, the Philippine index retreated from
Wednesday's record closing high of 7,847.83, with an increase in
inflation in February seen unlikely to alter expectations for
the central bank to keep rates on hold in the near term.
    In Jakarta, the key index rebounded after two days
of falls. Shares of coal miners such as Bukit Asam and
Adaro Energy advanced amid expectations the mining
sector would benefit from the rupiah's depreciation.
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 Change at 0700 GMT
 Market             Current     Prev Close    Pct Move
 Singapore          3401.81       3415.53       -0.40
 Kuala Lumpur       1806.49       1825.54       -1.04
 Bangkok            1558.17       1562.84       -0.30
 Jakarta            5471.97       5448.06       +0.44
 Manila             7832.67       7847.83       -0.19
 Ho Chi Minh         596.75        600.39       -0.61
 (Reporting by Viparat Jantraprap; Additional reporting by
Yantoultra Ngui in Kuala Lumpur; Editing by Biju Dwarakanath)