Southeast Asian stocks climb on commodities recovery

Friday, May 27, 2011

BANGKOK: Southeast Asian stock markets climbed higher on Thursday, May 26 as a recovery in commodity markets lured buyers back to resource-related stocks and bargain-hunters picked up blue chips.

Trading volume remained weak, however, suggesting a lack of conviction. Market turnover in Thailand, Indonesia and Singapore fell below the 30-day average.

Thailand's benchmark SET index , where energy stocks have a weighting of more than 20 percent, gained almost 1 percent, hitting its highest in a week at one point. Malaysia ended up 0.5 percent.

Stocks in Indonesia and the Philippines both finished up almost 1 percent. Vietnam shot up 3 percent, after a 20 percent plunge in the past two weeks. Singapore's main index was flat.

Thailand rose despite tiny outflows of $3 million, adding to a combined $283 million in the previous four sessions.

"The positive story was mainly from commodities markets. But I still think the gains will quickly be lost if the threats from euro zone debt are not over," said Warut Siwasariyanon, head of research at broker Finansia Syrus Securities.

Flows in other markets were mixed. Indonesia reported outflows for a fourth session and the Philippines lost $7 million after two days of inflows, according to Thomson Reuters data.

The MSCI index for Southeast Asia was up 1.1 percent by 0947 GMT, while the MSCI index of Asia Pacific stocks outside Japan was up 1.6 percent , the biggest gain since April 20, after closing at a two-month low on Wednesday.

The risks surrounding the euro have not eased much, with Greece fighting to avoid a debt restructuring that could have a huge ripple effect across other high-risk European countries struggling with gaping fiscal deficits.

Palm oil shares were among outperformers as Malaysian palm oil futures hit a seven-week high. Singapore-listed Olam International surged 2.5 percent and Astra Agro Lestari, Indonesia's largest listed PLANTATION firm, climbed 1.3 percent.


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