April 24, 2017 / 6:15 AM / a year ago

SE Asia Stocks-Cautious as S.Korea says may join U.S. strike group against North

    By Susan Mathew
    April 24 (Reuters) - Southeast Asian shares were little
changed on Monday amid fears North Korea could conduct another
nuclear test as tension escalated in the region after South
Korea said it may hold joint drills with a U.S. aircraft strike
    The U.S. said it will send a contingent of military ships to
waters near the Korean peninsula, something that Pyongyang
considers to be military provocation.
    North Korea said at the weekend it was ready to sink the
U.S. aircraft carrier which Trump had ordered to waters off the
Korean peninsula as a warning to the reclusive country.
    "Market will be keeping an eye on developments in the Korean
peninsula," UOB Group said in a note. 
    North Korea will mark the 85th anniversary of the foundation
of its Korean People's Army on Tuesday. It has in the past
marked important anniversaries with tests of its weapons.

    The focus shifted from Sunday's first-round victory of the
market's favoured candidate in French election, Emmanuel Macron,
to the May 7 runoff.
    Meanwhile, investors cautiously awaited fresh triggers as
the earnings season gathers momentum. 
    "Relief regarding the France election has somehow subsided
and the regional markets are waiting for first-quarter earnings
and (investors) are positioning ahead of the GDP numbers," said
Manny Cruz, research analyst with AP Securities. 
    Sentiment was further weakened with China stocks plunging
amid signs that Beijing would tolerate more market volatility as
regulators clamp down on shadow banking and speculative trading.
    Singapore shares were down as much as 0.3 percent,
snapping two straight gaining sessions, with energy stocks
leading the decline.
    The city-state's headline consumer price index in March rose
0.7 percent from a year earlier, in line with economist
    Thai stocks were flat with Charoen Pokphand Foods
PCL falling as much as 0.9 percent, while utility
company Siam City Cement PCL shed 0.4 percent.
    Thailand's customs-cleared exports surged well above
expectations in March, commerce ministry data showed.

    Markets in Indonesia and Malaysia were shut on account of
local holidays.
For Asian Companies click;  

  Market            Current       Previous Close  Pct Move
  Singapore         3138.89       3139.83         -0.03
  Bangkok           1570.12       1570.02         0.01
  Manila            7580.29       7578.16         0.03
  Ho Chi Minh       710.47        712.41          -0.27
  Change on year                                  
  Market            Current       End 2016        Pct Move
  Singapore         3138.89       2880.76         8.96
  Bangkok           1570.12       1542.94         1.76
  Manila            7580.29       6840.64         10.8
 Ho Chi Minh        710.47        664.87          6.9

 (Reporting by Susan Mathew in Bengaluru; Editing by Vyas Mohan)
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