SE Asia Stocks -Mostly down; Philippine cenbank rate decision in focus
BANGKOK, Sept 24 (Reuters) - Stocks in Thailand fell and Vietnam eked out slim gains on Thursday as global growth concerns dented sentiment in Asia, while rate-sensitive banking stocks slipped in the Philippines ahead of the central bank's interest rate decision due later in the day. Singapore, Malaysia and Indonesia all were closed for a public holiday, reopening on Friday. The Thai SET index eased 0.3 percent, with large caps underperforming. Shares of Siam Cement extended their slides for a second day to the lowest since Jan. 21 and PTT fell at one point to a more than one week low. The market is expected to stay range-bound in the absence of fresh factors, strategists at broker Krungsri Securities wrote in a report. "However, SCC and shares in the PTT group could weigh down the overall market because of lower crude price and continuous selling by foreign investors," it said. Foreign investors sold Thai shares worth a net 4.9 billion baht ($135.14 million), the biggest net selling in more than one month. The Philippine index hit a one-month low, with interest rate sensitive stocks falling ahead of the central bank's decision on rates later in the day. Bank of the Philippine Islands led the decline, losing 0.9 percent. All 14 economists in a Reuters poll predicted the central bank's policy-making Monetary Board will vote to keep the overnight borrowing rate at 4.0 percent, likely taking heart from a rebound in economic growth in the second quarter and on subdued inflation. Vietnam's index was trading slightly higher. It has risen about 5 percent so far this year, Asia's best performing index. For Asian Companies click; SOUTHEAST ASIAN STOCK MARKETS Change at 0425 GMT Market Current Prev Close Pct Move Bangkok 1370.61 1375.17 -0.33 Manila 6866.63 6926.91 -0.87 Ho Chi Minh 574.34 572.72 +0.28 (Reporting by Viparat Jantraprap; Editing by Biju Dwarakanath)
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