SE Asia Stocks-Higher on upbeat U.S. jobs data; Thai shares hit 16-mth high
By Justin George Varghese Aug 8 (Reuters) - Southeast Asian stocks rose on Monday after stronger-than-expected U.S. jobs data raised expectations of a rate increase by the Federal Reserve, with Thailand hitting a 16-month high after Thais voted to accept a new military-backed constitution. July nonfarm payrolls rose by 255,000 and the June increase was revised upward to 292,000, the U.S. Labor Department said. Economists polled by Reuters had forecast July payrolls would increase by 180,000. The 'yes' vote in the Thai referendum is expected to pave the way for an election next year, and should reduce political uncertainty in Southeast Asia's second-largest economy and encourage incoming foreign fund flows, analysts said. Thai stocks rose as much as 1.4 percent to their highest since April 2015, led by telecom services and financials. Kasikornbank was up 4.2 percent, while Advanced Info Service Pcl rose 2.25 percent. "Investors are reacting confidently as it is clear that the election will happen next year," said Sumek Chantrasuriyarat, an analyst with Thailand-based KGI. A stronger jobs report more or less curbs heightened concerns about the U.S. economy, and also raises the likelihood of a rate hike this year, said Vishnu Varathan, a senior economist with Mizuho Corporate Bank in Singapore. Singapore surged as much as 1.45 percent, driven by financial stocks Oversea-Chinese Banking Corporation Ltd and DBS Group Holdings Ltd. The Jakarta Composite Index rose as much as 0.7 percent, driven by financial stocks PT Bank Mandiri (Persero) Tbk and PT Bank Rakyat Indonesia (Persero) Tbk The Philippine index was up marginally, on gains in financial stocks Metropolitan Bank & Trust Company and Megaworld Corporation. Vietnam rose as much as 0.4 percent, led by utility stocks Petrovietnam Gas Joint Stock Corporation and Pha Lai Thermal Power Joint Stock Company. Asian shares rose, with MSCI's broadest index of Asia-Pacific shares outside Japan up 0.3 percent, just hovering below a one-year high hit last week. For Asian Companies click; STOCK MARKETS Change on 0436 GMT Market Current previous close Pct Move Singapore 2864.22 2828.17 1.27 Bangkok 1534.67 1518.69 1.05 Manila 7977.44 7970.35 0.09 Jakarta 5442.738 5420.246 0.41 Kuala Lumpur 1665.8 1664.04 0.11 Ho Chi Minh 628.17 627.39 0.12 Change so far this year Market Current End prev yr Pct Move Singapore 2864.22 2882.73 -0.64 Bangkok 1534.67 1288.02 19.15 Manila 7977.44 6952.08 14.75 Jakarta 5442.738 4593.008 18.50 Kuala Lumpur 1665.8 1692.51 -1.58 Ho Chi Minh 628.17 579.03 8.49 (Reporting by Justin George Varghese in Bengaluru; Editing by Biju Dwarakanath)
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