July 7, 2016 / 5:06 AM / 2 years ago

SE Asia Stocks-Thai hits near 1-yr high on upbeat U.S. data; Singapore slides

By Shashwat Pradhan
    July 7 (Reuters) - Thai shares vaulted to a near 1-year high
on Thursday, buoyed by upbeat U.S. economic data that took some
of the sting out of the Brexit scare, while Singapore slid,
dragged down by financial stocks.
    Sentiment across the region got a lift from a survey showing
activity in the giant U.S. services sector hit a seven-month
high in June as new orders surged and companies hired more.
    The signs of underlying strength in the economy suggested it
could withstand the financial markets turbulence, sparked by
uncertainty following last month's stunning vote in Britain to
leave the European Union, economists said. 
    Most Asian markets opened firmer, with the MSCI's broadest
index of Asia-Pacific shares outside Japan 
rising 0.8 percent.
    In commodity markets, oil prices recouped some lost ground
on the better U.S. data and expectations for a sharp drop in
crude stockpiles. 
    The Thai index climbed more than half a percent at
0422 GMT, extending gains to hit its highest since July last
year on strong performance by energy and financial stocks.
    "We expect a more positive backdrop for the Thai market in
2H16 as economic indicators show signs of bottoming and
improvement," James Griffiths, an analyst with Citigroup, said
in a note.
    "Political events, especially referendum in August, could be
key and we expect positive developments to support 2H market."
    Thailand prepares to vote on a new constitution on Aug. 7
that critics fear will entrench the military's influence.
    Vietnam's benchmark index hovered near a more than
8-year high, driven by materials and utilities, which climbed on
expectations of an increase in credit flows. 
    Banks in Vietnam expect lending this year to surpass
targets, growing 20.4 percent over 2015, fuelled by stronger
credit demand and better business conditions, the central bank
said on Wednesday. 
    Singapore slid marginally, dragged down by financial
stocks, which contributed to more than half the losses on the
    Malaysia and Indonesia were closed on
Thursday for Eid-al-Fitr.

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  STOCK MARKETS                                           
  Change at 0422 GMT                                      
  Market              Current       Prev close   Pct Move
  Singapore           2859.8        2864.67      -0.17
  Bangkok             1460.2        1452.59      0.52
  Manila              7784.68       7808.13      -0.30
  Ho Chi Minh         653.12        649.46       0.56
  Change on year                                 
  Market              Current       End 2015     Pct Move
  Singapore           2859.8        2882.73      -0.80
  Bangkok             1460.2        1288.02      13.37
  Manila              7784.68       6952.08      11.98
  Ho Chi Minh         653.12        579.03       12.80
 (Reporting by Shashwat Pradhan; Editing by Biju Dwarakanath)
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