SE Asia Stocks - Thai index snaps losses after surprise rate cut
BANGKOK, March 11 (Reuters) - Thai shares snapped two days of losses on Wednesday after the central bank unexpectedly cut a policy interest rate to help lift the domestic economy while others in Southeast Asia fell amid worries about an earlier U.S. interest rate hike. The Bank of Thailand's decision to cut its benchmark one-day repurchase rate by 25 basis points to 1.75 percent came during the midday break and helped lure buyers back in the afternoon session. The key SET index ended up 0.8 percent, recovering from a loss in early trade. The lower interest rate also sent the baht to a near two-month low. "It's positive for the stock market. The central bank's view on the economy is not encouraging but the market took the rate cut as a compensation for weaker growth," said senior analyst Pichai Lertsupongkij of Thanachart Securities. In Indonesia, the weaker rupiah further hit sentiment. The Jakarta composite index ended down 0.8 percent at 5,419.57, the lowest close in more than two weeks. The weakening rupiah is posing a threat to foreign investors' unhedged positions, said Norico Gaman, head of research at BNI Securities in Jakarta. The currency hit a fresh 17-year low on Wednesday. "After the index rose to its all-time high above 5,500 level, investors are cashing in their profits especially when the rupiah continues to weaken," Gaman said. Asian stocks skidded to a two-month low on Wednesday as nervous markets recoiled on worries about an earlier U.S. interest rate hike, a prospect that sent the dollar to a 12-year high against the euro. 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 3378.59 3398.26 -0.58 Kuala Lumpur 1778.16 1789.73 -0.65 Bangkok 1543.84 1531.04 +0.84 Jakarta 5419.57 5462.93 -0.79 Manila 7790.70 7828.48 -0.48 Ho Chi Minh 586.54 589.66 -0.53 Change on year Market Current End 2014 Pct Move Singapore 3378.59 3365.15 +0.40 Kuala Lumpur 1778.16 1761.25 +0.96 Bangkok 1543.84 1497.67 +3.08 Jakarta 5419.57 5226.95 +3.69 Manila 7790.70 7230.57 +7.75 Ho Chi Minh 586.54 545.63 +7.50 (Reporting by Viparat Jantraprap; Additional reporting by Fransiska Nangoy in Jakarta; Editing by Sunil Nair)
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