SE Asia Stocks -Mostly weaker; Malaysia at over 1-week low
BANGKOK, Sept 22 (Reuters) - Southeast Asian stock markets mostly fell in range-bound trading on Tuesday, with Malaysia's key index at a more than one-week low while investors consolidated recent gains in a holiday-shortened trading week. The Kuala Lumpur composite index was down 0.2 percent at 1,636.70, the lowest since Sept. 14. Trading volume was only 28 percent of the full-day average over past 30 days ahead of a market holiday on Thursday. The market was technically weak, said Broker Maybank Kim Eng in a report, adding the decline of the index from a high of 1,691.93 on Sept. 17 had been drastic and the index tone had turned swiftly more negative since then. The Jakarta composite index was down 0.5 percent, while Singapore's Straits Times Index was up 0.7 percent, with trading in both stock markets thin ahead of a market holiday on Thursday. "With Wall Street's overnight gains, sentiment will likely continue to be cautiously optimistic today," said broker NRA Capital referring to the Singapore stock market. The Thai SET index gave up early small gains and was down 0.2 percent at midday. Shares of Sahaviya Steel Industries plunged 20 percent on resuming trading after the steel firm and its three creditors said they agreed to consider options to restructure debt worth over 50 billion baht ($1.40 billion). Shares of Krung Thai Bank and Siam Commercial Bank , among the creditors, extended their slides amid concerns about the impact of loans to the ailing steel firm. "SSI's decision to default on 50 billion baht of loan from three major banks is being downplayed by banks, analysts and SSI as nothing, not a problem. Fact is that banks will make additional provisions this quarter," said strategists at broker SCB Securities in a report. Stocks in the Philippines hit a more than one-week low as investors awaited the central bank's interest rate decision later in the week. Vietnam's index was nearly flat near its highest level since Sept. 10 amid forecasts of strong economic growth in the country. Asian shares rose and the dollar held steady as U.S. markets bounced back and the European Central Bank said it was prepared to ease monetary policy further. For Asian Companies click; SOUTHEAST ASIAN STOCK MARKETS Change at 0610 GMT Market Current Prev Close Pct Move Singapore 2901.85 2882.27 +0.68 Kuala Lumpur 1636.70 1639.47 -0.17 Bangkok 1389.72 1392.73 -0.22 Jakarta 4354.59 4376.08 -0.49 Manila 7047.14 7092.41 -0.64 Ho Chi Minh 572.26 572.12 +0.02 (Reporting by Viparat Jantraprap; Editing by Subhranshu Sahu)
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