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SE Asia Stocks - Mostly flat-to-weaker; Indonesia up on rupiah

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

the rupiah.

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

last week.

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)