SE Asia Stocks-Mixed; Malaysia at 1-week low ahead of rate decision
BANGKOK, March 9 (Reuters) - Southeast Asian stock markets were trading mixed on Wednesday as weak trade data from China dented market sentiment across Asia, with Malaysia drifting lower ahead of a decision by the central bank on interest rates. Sharp losses in Chinese stocks pulled Asian equities further away from two-month highs as weak trade figures from the world's second biggest economy and a retreat in oil prices revived concerns about global growth. The Kuala Lumpur composite index traded down 0.5 percent at 1,680.27, extending losses from Tuesday. Rate-sensitive banking stocks were among losers, led by a 1.3 percent drop in Malayan Banking. All 11 economists in a Reuters poll expect Bank Negara Malaysia to keep the overnight policy rate at 3.25 percent as markets also wait to see who will succeed its respected, long-serving governor. In Bangkok, the key SET index was 0.2 percent higher, after earlier slipping to a one-week low of 1,372.46. Index heavyweight energy stocks led by PTT and PTT Exploration and Production fell, in line with a drop in global oil prices. "The SET index may continue to take a breather on Wednesday, as foreign flows look slower and a few large-cap sectors have weaker sentiment," said broker KGI Securities in a report. Stocks in Singapore rebounded slightly after two days of weakness and the Philippines eked out gains for a second day. Vietnam hovered in negative territory, extending losses from Tuesday. Indonesia, Southeast Asia's best performer so far this year in dollar terms, was closed for a public holiday and will reopen on Thursday. Nomura said in a report that Indonesia remained its most favoured market in ASEAN, expected to show the biggest 'turnaround' in earnings in 2016 versus 2015. For Asian Companies click; SOUTHEAST ASIAN STOCK MARKETS Change at 0442 GMT Market Current Prev Close Pct Move Singapore 2789.57 2778.77 +0.39 Kuala Lumpur 1680.27 1687.86 -0.45 Bangkok 1377.56 1374.62 +0.21 Manila 6936.26 6915.51 +0.30 Ho Chi Minh 573.84 574.71 -0.15 (Reporting by Viparat Jantraprap; Editing by Biju Dwarakanath)
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