SE Asia Stocks: Most rebound, Indonesia leads gains

BANGKOK, Feb 28 — Indonesian stocks climbed more than one per cent today while most other Southeast Asian stock markets moved higher amid  selective buying of beaten-down big caps though investors remained cautious about the impact of high oil prices.

Consumer and banking stocks that had led recent losses in such as Indonesia’s PT Astra International, Thailand’s Kasikornbank Pcl and Philippine Metropolitan Bank and Trust Co, recouped some lost ground.

The region’s biggest gainer was Jakarta’s Composite Index, which ended up 1.1 per cent. During the previous four sessions, it was down a combined 3.6 per cent.

Indonesia posted foreign outflows since last week amid concerns about the government’s plans to raise fuel prices or cut fuel subsidies.

Jakarta posted a combined US$174 million (RM524 million) foreign outflows in four sessions to yesterday, according to Thomson Reuters data.

Harry Su, head of research at Jakarta-based Bahana Securities, said higher fuel prices could push inflation this year to eight per cent compared with the broker’s current forecast of five per cent. He said the market could remain volatile due to the issue.

“I think it will depend a lot on what the government will do in terms of how much of an increase there will be. Obviously, it will be short-term pain but it’s going to be longer-term gain for this economy,” he said.

“Over the longer run, we continue to remain quite optimistic and positive on the market,” he said. Yesterday’s rebound was a technical one that was “from bottom fishing as well,” Su said.

Singapore’s Straits Times Index was up 0.8 per cent, the Thai SET index rose 0.99 per cent, and the Philippine main index closed 0.44 per cent higher.

Stocks in Malaysia inched down 0.15 per cent and Vietnam’s Ho Chi Minh Stock Exchange index fell 1.44 per cent.       

Indonesia’s Astra shares gained 1.6 per cent, Thailand’s Kasikornbank rose 1.1 per cent and Philippine Metropolitan bank was up 0.8 per cent.

Asian shares and the euro edged higher yesterday as markets waited for a second liquidity injection from the European Central Bank to gauge risk appetite that has been somewhat dented by worries over high oil prices.

By 0941 GMT (1741 Malaysian time), MSCI’s broadest index of Asia Pacific shares outside Japan edged up 1.02 per cent. — Reuters


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