SE Asia Stocks - Thai index at 5-week low; Vietnam up after dong devaluation
BANGKOK, May 7 (Reuters) - Southeast Asian stock markets tracked global equities lower on Thursday, with Thai consumer shares underperforming after weak consumer confidence data, but Vietnam's benchmark bucked the trend after its central bank devalued the dong. Bangkok's SET index was down 0.8 percent at 1,507.59, the lowest since April 1. Top large-cap losers included shares of grocery retailer Big C Supercenter and convenience store operator CP All. Data showed consumer confidence in Thailand fell for a fourth straight month in April, reflecting worries about economic recovery, low commodity prices and weak exports. Broker Maybank Kim Eng Securities expected a small market rebound to 1,525-1,530, helped by selective buying in dividend yielding stocks. "However, upside is also limited as markets still cannot see any clear signs of economic recovery," it said. Vietnam's VN index recovered from a fall on Wednesday and rose 0.8 percent. Banking shares gained, led by third biggest lender BIDV, after the central bank allowed a small depreciation in the dong. "This shift in the reference rate should be seen as a proactive measure to help narrow the trade deficit and to arrest the slight deterioration in Vietnam's balance of payments position," HSBC strategists wrote in a report. In Kuala Lumpur, banking shares were mixed ahead of the central bank's interest rate decision later in the day. Maybank rose 0.5 percent while AMMB Holdings fell 0.6 percent. Bank Negara Malaysia is expected to keep its benchmark rate unchanged at 3.25 percent, as policymakers see limited downside risk to the economy, a Reuters poll showed. Singapore's index hit the lowest since March 26, Indonesia is set to end a three-day winning streak and the Philippines extended loss for a second trading day. Asian stocks fell on Thursday while U.S. stocks ended weaker on Wednesday after U.S. Federal Reserve Chair Janet Yellen warned of high valuations, adding to anxiety about future interest rates and a global bond rout. For Asian Companies click; For South East Asia Hot Stock reports, click; SOUTHEAST ASIAN STOCK MARKETS Change at 0548 GMT Market Current Prev Close Pct Move Singapore 3432.57 3459.79 -0.79 Kuala Lumpur 1817.00 1820.97 -0.22 Bangkok 1507.58 1519.88 -0.81 Jakarta 5169.11 5184.95 -0.31 Manila 7813.56 7873.64 -0.76 Ho Chi Minh 553.45 549.30 +0.76 (Reporting by Viparat Jantraprap; Editing by Sunil Nair)
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