By Sindhu Chandrasekaran
March 31 Most Southeast Asian stock markets
edged down in sluggish trade on Friday, in line with broader
Asia, but Indonesia eked out some early gains to hit a record
high for the second time this week.
MSCI's broadest index of Asia-Pacific shares outside Japan
retreated 0.5 percent, as investors balanced
positions on the last day of the quarter, but was on track for a
near 13 percent gain year to date.
"At this point, the end of the quarter, most of the markets
are simply moving sideways, as they prepare for the second
quarter," said Manny Cruz, an analyst with Manila-based Asiasec
Indonesian stocks fell 0.1 percent, after gaining as
much as 0.2 percent to hit a record high of 5,606.03 earlier in
the session. Indonesia was on track to post a fifth quarter of
gains in six, adding 5.5 percent.
"The next big catalyst for Indonesia would be the
fourth-quarter earnings and S&P's potential rating upgrade by
May or June," said Taye Shim, head of research at Jakarta-based
Mirae Asset Sekuritas.
Credit rating agency Standard & Poor's has a "BB plus"
rating on Indonesia - one notch below the investment grade. The
country's coordinating minister Darmin Nasution said earlier
this month that S&P had no reason to keep Indonesia's credit
rating below investment grade.
"S&P is still very much in wait and see mode as they have
said that they need to be convinced in terms of the fiscal
condition in Indonesia and that they are also quite concerned
about the low GDP," said Harry Su, an analyst with Bahana
Securities in Indonesia, adding that it was not clear whether
the rating agency would upgrade.
Vietnam shares gained as much as 0.4 percent to hit
their highest since February 2008 and were on track for a 9
percent gain for the quarter.
Singapore stocks climbed 0.2 percent and were on
track to extend gains into a fourth straight quarter, adding
10.3 percent. Financials accounted for nearly half the gains in
the current session, with DBS Group Holdings Ltd
rising 0.4 percent.
Malaysian and Philippine stocks declined 0.3
percent each, with losses in telecom and industrial stocks
weighing on the indices, respectively.
Malaysia was on track for a 6.2 percent gain on the quarter,
while Philippines, which was headed for its first quarterly gain
in three quarters, added 6.9 percent year to date.
Thai shares were down 0.1 percent, but were in line
to extend gains into a fifth quarter, adding 2.4 percent in the
last three months.
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SOUTHEAST ASIAN STOCK MARKETS : CHANGE AT 0500 GMT
Market Current previous Pct Move
Singapore 3178.6 3173.24 0.17
Bangkok 1579.23 1579.88 -0.04
Manila 7310.7 7332.59 -0.30
Jakarta 5589.587 5592.952 -0.06
Kuala Lumpur 1743.65 1749.25 -0.32
Ho Chi Minh 724.91 723.86 0.15
Change on year
Market Current End 2016 Pct Move
Singapore 3178.6 2880.76 10.34
Bangkok 1579.23 1542.94 2.35
Manila 7310.7 6840.64 6.9
Jakarta 5589.587 5296.711 5.53
Kuala Lumpur 1743.65 1641.73 6.21
Ho Chi Minh 724.91 664.87 9.0
(Reporting by Sindhu Chandrasekaran; Additional reporting by
Urvashi Goenka; Editing by Amrutha Gayathri)