BANGKOK, March 24 (Reuters) - Most Southeast Asian stock
markets were flat-to-weaker on Tuesday after a measure of
Chinese factory activity came in weaker than expected, but the
Indonesian benchmark eked out small gains in line with a rise in
Jakarta's composite index gained 0.1 percent after
modest losses over the ast two trading days. Domestic-led buying
lifted selected large-caps such as Matahari Putra,
Bank Rakyat Indonesia and Telkom Indonesia.
The rupiah rose to its highest in more than two weeks on
Tuesday, partly as uncertainty over the timing of U.S. interest
rate hikes lifted most emerging Asian currencies.
It also won some respite after Indonesia's finance minister
said on Monday he would work with the central bank to strengthen
the currency, which hit a near 17-year low against the dollar
In Bangkok, the SET index was down 0.9 percent to
its lowest since Jan. 8.
It is heading for a third day of declines amid profit-taking
in telecoms shares such as Advanced Info Service,
recently boosted by the government's auction plan of spectrum
licences for 4G wireless broadband services.
China's manufacturing PMI data painted a picture of further
slowdown while a weak domestic economy dashed hopes for strong
earnings growth, strategists at broker Phillip Securities wrote
in a report.
"Slowing economic activity in the first quarter may also
possibly lead to another round of corporate earnings downgrades,
a factor that could keep the correction going for a little
longer," it said.
The flash HSBC/Markit Purchasing Managers' Index (PMI)
dipped to 49.2 in March, below the 50-point level. Economists
polled by Reuters had forecast a reading of 50.6, slightly
weaker than February's final PMI of 50.7.
Singapore's key index headed for a flat session for
a second day, the Philippines fell 0.4 percent after
three days of gains, Vietnam dropped 1.2 percent to the
lowest since Feb. 5., while Malaysia rebounded 0.8
percent after two days of falls.
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SOUTHEAST ASIAN STOCK MARKETS
Change at 0710 GMT
Market Current Prev Close Pct Move
Singapore 3411.97 3410.13 +0.05
Kuala Lumpur 1808.87 1795.85 +0.73
Bangkok 1505.95 1520.01 -0.92
Jakarta 5443.34 5437.10 +0.11
Manila 7806.04 7840.49 -0.44
Ho Chi Minh 564.22 570.89 -1.17
(Reporting by Viparat Jantraprap; Editing by Sunil Nair)