SE Asia stocks stronger; Philippines, Indonesia at new peak

SINGAPORE, March 8 — Southeast Asian stock markets ended firmer today, taking cues from Asian peers, as gains in US stocks and forecast-beating Chinese exports data boosted investor sentiment for the region’s risky assets.

The Philippines, the region’s best performer this year, hit a record high of 6,859.79 before ending at 6,833.77, making a gain of 1.62 per cent.

The Philippines’ second most valuable listed firm and conglomerate SM Investments Corp, which posted a 16.3 per cent increase in full-year 2012 net profit, rose 4.7 per cent, driving the overall index gain.

Indonesia gained 0.5 per cent to 4,874.50, marking a record close for a third straight session, led by a 1.2 per cent gain in Astra International Tbk PT.

Thailand closed 0.4 per cent firmer at an 18-year high of 1,566.92, pushed up by construction shares, with Siam Cement Pcl rising 3.8 per cent.

Malaysia, Asia’s worst performer in 2013, edged up 0.2 per cent with a US$112.43 million (RM349 million) foreign inflow, while Vietnam , the region’s smallest bourse, gained 0.9 per cent on bargain hunting after the market fell to an oversold territory.

Bucking the trend, Singapore edged down 0.3 per cent, weighed by developers such as CapitaLand Ltd, which fell 3 per cent on market talk about more government measures to cool the city-state’s property market. — Reuters