Thursday, January 14, 2016

Indonesia stocks fall nearly 2 pct after reports of explosions

BANGKOK - Southeast Asian stock markets fell on Thursday following weakness in Asian shares and steep losses in the U.S. stocks, with Indonesia sliding nearly 2 percent in line with a weaker rupiah after news of explosions in central Jakarta.

Jakarta composite index was down 1.7 percent at its lowest since Dec. 21 while the rupiah fell to 13,960 level. Astra International, the most actively traded stock, dropped 3 percent after weak automobile sales data was out.

Investors awaited the central bank's interest rate decision later in the day, with a Reuters poll expecting policy rate cut to boost growth.

The central bank confirmed it would continue with its policy meeting despite explosions that took place less than two kilometers from its office in central Jakarta.

Singapore slid 1.9 percent tracking a two percent decline in MSCI's broadest index of Asia-Pacific shares outside Japan while U.S. stocks sank due to concerns over weak oil prices, U.S. corporate earnings and the global economy.

Shares related to energy sector fared the worst, with Keppel Corporation Ltd and Sembcorp Marine Ltd were among the top losers.

"We remain cautious regarding oil and gas counters as they are susceptible to contract cancellations," stated broker NRA Capital in a report.

In Bangkok, the SET index was down 1.3 percent, with rallying banking shares retreating. Kasikornbank fell 1.8 percent after notching up gains of 13 percent for four sessions, ahead of its 2015 earnings release, which is due next week.

"After two sessions of strong rebound, the SET may have some pullback on Thursday, along with renewed risk aversion in global equities," broker KGI Securities stated in a report.

Malaysia hit the lowest since Dec. 22, the Philippines fell after two sessions of gain and Vietnam at one point touched its lowest since Aug. 26.