SE Asia Stocks-Most rise; Thailand up, Philippines snaps early gains
By Justin George Varghese June 2 (Reuters) - Most Southeast Asian stock markets closed higher on Thursday, with Thai shares leading the gains after the country's central bank kept its key policy rate steady, while Philippine stocks retreated after rising earlier in the day. Asian shares eased after surveys showed global manufacturing activity and demand remained weak. MSCI's broadest index of Asia-Pacific shares outside Japan struggled to keep its head above water after rising more than 3 percent over the last seven days. "I think investors will remain skittish ahead of the U.S. non-farm employment data on Friday and will be looking out for possible cues from it on the Fed's rate hike timings," said Alex Tiu, an analyst with Manila-based AB Capital Securities Inc. The data is expected to show the U.S. economy created 164,000 jobs in May. Financial stocks helped the Thai index recover from the previous session's losses after the Bank of Thailand left its policy interest rate at 1.50 percent, unchanged since April 2015. Thailand's fifth-largest lender Bank of Ayudhya PCL climbed 0.7 percent. Philippine stocks slipped 0.5 percent after gaining as much as 0.7 percent earlier in the day. The fall is not surprising as shares have been overbought since the presidential elections and have been trading at over 19 times P/E, said April Lee-Tan, an analyst with Manila-based COL Financial Inc. "So the stocks would be bound for a market correction now and in the following days," she said. Shares of Philippine telecom operators, San Miguel Corp and Globe Telecom Inc, were among the biggest losers on the index. The Philippine telecoms regulator has given the two main operators a year to boost chronically slow internet speeds, warning it would otherwise revoke approval to take over prized spectrum agreed as part of a $1.5 billion deal this week. Malaysian shares climbed for a second day, helped by financial stocks. Singapore shares rose marginally, while Vietnam rose 0.6 percent, led by the energy index. For Asian Companies click; SOUTHEAST ASIAN STOCK MARKETS STOCK MARKETS Change on day Market Current Previous Pct Close Move Singapore 2795.09 2790.54 0.16 Bangkok 1424.06 1415.76 0.59 Manila 7464.59 7500.79 -0.48 Jakarta 4833.225 4839.668 -0.13 Kuala Lumpur 1630.53 1626.5 0.25 Ho Chi Minh 623.37 619.86 0.57 Change on year Market Current End 2015 Pct Move Singapore 2795.09 2882.73 -3.04 Bangkok 1424.06 1288.02 10.56 Manila 7464.59 6952.08 7.37 Jakarta 4833.225 4593.008 5.23 Kuala Lumpur 1630.53 1692.51 -3.66 Ho Chi Minh 623.37 579.03 7.66 (Reporting by Justin George Varghese in BENGALURU; Editing by Anupama Dwivedi)
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