Southeast Asia stocks rise on Turkey rate hike; Thai political tensions remain

BANGKOK (Reuters) - Most Southeast Asian stock markets rose on Wednesday as Turkey's huge hike in interest rates boosted Asian share markets.

Thai stocks eked out small gains, helped by selective buying in exporters, but political risks ahead of election remained a drag.

Indonesia outperformed the region, with Jakarta's Composite Index (JCI) up 1.8 per cent amid bargain hunting. Shares of Charoen Pokphand Indonesia jumped 3.8 per cent, making them one of the top percentage gainer on the large cap index.

"We expect domestic related counters to support market rally today. With positive sentiment from regional market increasing, we expect JCI would further strengthen," said Jakarta-based Trimegah Securities in a report.

Philippine shares climbed 1 per cent after a two-day losing streak, led by shares of SM Prime Holdings, while Malaysian stocks rose 0.7 per cent, with oil and gas services company MISC leading the pack.

Thai stocks were up 0.6 per cent by midday, with shares of canned tuna exporter Thai Union Frozen Products among outperformers, while shares of developer Land & Houses led losers amid concerns about political impact on home sales.

Brokers see market weakness ahead of Sunday's election while the region remained cautious ahead of the outcome of the US Federal Reserve's two-day meeting ending later on Wednesday.

"Any rebound, however, should be short-lived and unstable as emerging market outflows are more visible," KGI Securities said in a report.

"Thai politics is still deadlocked ... The February election is unable to lead to the opening of a new parliament as there are too many constituencies with candidates," it said.

Thailand's embattled government is pushing ahead with a general election on Sunday despite warnings it could end in violence and the country left without a functioning administration for six months.

Among weak spots, Singapore shares were down 0.7 per cent, with active selling in shares of Singapore Telecommunications. Research house NRA Capital expects the market to trade within a narrow range.

"Investors would be unwilling to take fresh positions ahead of the shortened trading week and long weekend looming for the Lunar New Year holidays," it said.

Singapore, Indonesia and the Philippines will be closed on Friday for a Lunar New Year holiday, with Malaysia shut on Thursday and Friday.

Vietnam is closed for a second day on Wednesday for the country's Lunar New Year festival. Trade will resume on Thursday, Feb. 6

Follow ST on LinkedIn and stay updated on the latest career news, insights and more.