By Krishna V Kurup
Dec 9 Southeast Asian stock markets were subdued
on Friday, little supported by the European Central Bank's
decision to extend its debt-buying programme.
The ECB trimmed back its asset buys in a surprise move on
Thursday but promised protracted stimulus to aid a still fragile
recovery, and dismissed any talk of tapering the programme away.
Investors have now shifted their focus to the U.S. Federal
Reserve policy meeting on Dec.13-14, where it is widely expected
to raise interest rates.
The possibility of a rate hike next week has been almost
fully priced in by the market, and the focus is now on whether
the central bank hints of further monetary tightening in 2017.
Among Southeast Asian stock markets, Thailand
touched its highest in over three months, helped by energy
stocks as oil prices held on to gains on growing hopes that
non-OPEC producers might agree to cut output following a cartel
agreement to limit production.
Thailand is the second largest net oil importer in Southeast
PTT Pcl gained 1.7 percent and PTT Exploration and
Production Pcl rose nearly 2 percent.
Philippine shares were marginally higher after
touching their highest in three weeks. They have gained nearly 2
percent so far this week, heading for their first weekly gain in
Industrial and financial stocks led the gains, with San
Miguel Corp rising 6 percent and Metropolitan Bank and
Trust Co climbing 1.8 percent.
"Markets are expected to see some pull-back after their
sharp gain on Thursday, as local investors are apprehensive to
come in at the current price," said Joseph Roxas, an analyst
with Manila-based Eagle Equities.
"For the rest of the month, we will see low trading volumes
and mostly local investors active because of the holiday
Vietnam shares were on track for a third straight
session of gains after Tuesday's steep fall.
"Market has been weak recently and lagged regional markets.
So, this is more of a catch-up rally," said Fiachra Mac Cana,
managing director and head of research at Ho Chi Minh
Newly listed Saigon Beer Alcohol Beverage Corp was
among the top gainers, rising nearly 7 percent.
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SOUTHEAST ASIAN STOCK MARKETS: Change at 0434 GMT
Market Current Prev close Pct Move
Singapore 2954.44 2958.86 -0.15
Bangkok 1529.49 1525.41 0.27
Manila 7036.74 7022.38 0.20
Jakarta 5289.156 5303.734 -0.27
Kuala Lumpur 1639.51 1643.75 -0.26
Ho Chi Minh 662.15 658.89 0.49
Change on year
Market Current End 2015 Pct Move
Singapore 2954.44 2882.73 2.49
Bangkok 1529.49 1288.02 18.75
Manila 7036.74 6952.08 1.22
Jakarta 5289.156 4593.008 15.16
Kuala Lumpur 1639.51 1692.51 -3.13
Ho Chi Minh 662.15 579.03 14.36
(Reporting by Krishna V Kurup in Bengaluru; Additonal Reporting
by Geo Tharappel; Editing by Subhranshu Sahu)