SE Asia Stocks -Thai index heads for third day of gains; others rangebound
BANGKOK, March 13 (Reuters) - Thai shares were heading for their third straight session of gains on Friday on bargain-hunting by domestic funds, while other Southeast Asian stock markets were rangebound with positive sentiment from the overnight U.S. market underpinning Asia. The key Thai SET index was up 0.3 percent, further recovering from a near two-month low hit on Tuesday and trimming its loss on the week to 1.2 percent. Shares of food firm Charoen Pokphand Foods jumped 3.6 percent and telecoms firm Advanced Info Service climbed 2.2 percent, making them top performers on the 50 large- cap index. Buying interests from domestic long-only funds are expected to lift the benchmark, brokers said. "More institutional investors are launching 'trigger funds' this week and next, implying local players see limited downside for SET at the current level. Overall, it could be a sideways up day for Thai stocks," said broker KGI Securities in a report. Southeast Asian stocks are on track for a weekly loss. Indonesia is set for a weekly decline of 1.6 percent after five successive weeks of gains, while Singapore was heading for a 1.5 percent drop and Malaysia for a 1.1 percent fall. Investors awaited the U.S. Federal Reserve's policy meeting next week for interest rate direction, although an unexpected fall in U.S. retail sales in February helped temper the prospects for an interest rate hike. MSCI's broadest index of Asia-Pacific shares outside Japan was up about 0.1 percent in early trade. For Asian Companies click; For South East Asia Hot Stock reports, click; SOUTHEAST ASIAN STOCK MARKETS Change at 0700 GMT Market Current Prev Close Pct Move Singapore 3367.26 3373.60 -0.18 Kuala Lumpur 1786.61 1786.87 -0.01 Bangkok 1549.13 1544.34 +0.31 Jakarta 5428.22 5439.83 -0.22 Manila 7830.80 7839.82 -0.12 Ho Chi Minh 589.19 588.53 +0.11 (Reporting by Viparat Jantraprap; Editing by Subhranshu Sahu)
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