Wednesday, November 24, 2010

Singapore leads regional rebound; others recover

BANGKOK:'' Most Southeast Asian stock markets regained lost ground on Wednesday, Nov 24 a day after sell-offs triggered by Korean tension.

Singapore finished up 0.34 percent, reversing a 2 percent drop to a three-week low on Tuesday, as investors built up positions along with recovering Asian bourses, while Malaysia gained its lost ground to end nearly unchanged.

Vietnam climbed almost one percent, recouping its early losses. Thai, Indonesian and Philippine shares extended their losses, all suffering more outflows.

Shares in Asia and Europe steadied on Wednesday from a sell-off following North Korea's deadly shelling of a South Korean island on Tuesday, but tension on the divided peninsula supported safe-haven assets such as gold and Japanese government bonds.

Bargain hunters entered the region, dealers said, boosting daily volume in most share markets above their 90-day average, including those of Malaysia, Indonesia and Thailand.

"The trend in Southeast Asia was very much the same as the region's. Overall, it's a good rebound and foreign selling in the region such as for the Thai market and Indonesia's were not a big deal," said a Kuala Lumpur-based stock trader.

"The buying in Malaysia was led by local investors. The debut of Petronas Chemicals on Friday helped keep momentum. Everyone was hopeful that the IPO will bring the market up to next level."

The IPO of Malaysia's Petronas Chemicals, the unit of state oil firm Petronas, is the latest in a series of multi-billion dollar offerings in the region, fueled by foreign investors in search of greater returns and looking to capitalise on strong economic growth.

About 1.06 billion shares changed hands on the Kuala Lumpur stock exchange, more than one time its average volume over 90 days while at the Indonesian stock exchange, 5.62 billion shares changed hands, 1.29 times its 90-day average, Thomson Reuters data showed.

Jakarta had an outflow of $60.8 million on the day, after $23.5 million the previous session. Manila saw an outflow of $11.1 million while Bangkok saw $64 million flowing out, Thomson Reuters data showed.

Among gainers in the region, Singapore's casino operator Genting Singapore rose as much as 3 percent on bargain hunting after its recent sell-off made its valuation more attractive while Malaysian financial firm CIMB Group Holdings rose 0.4 percent.

Among weak spots, Singapore-listed palm oil refiner Mewah International saw its shares plunge as much as 13 percent, marking one of the weakest IPO performances in Singapore in recent months.

In Bangkok, PTT Exploration and Production dropped 5 percent after Australia said it planned to tighten regulations on offshore oil exploration and review projects run by the company after Australia's worst offshore oil spill last year

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