BANGKOK (Oct 16): Southeast Asian stock markets mostly fell on Thursday, with Singapore touching the lowest since March and Malaysia at its weakest in more than eight months, amid heightened concerns about global economic growth after weak U.S. data.
Data released on Wednesday showed U.S. retail sales and producer prices both dropped last month, a worrisome economic signal that helped fuel a selloff on Wall Street.
Asia extended a selloff in global equities on Thursday, with MSCI's broadest index of Asia-Pacific shares outside Japan trading down 0.36 percent.
Energy-related firms were among the top regional losers as U.S. crude oil futures fell more than a dollar on Thursday.
Singapore-listed Keppel Corp, the world's largest builder of jackup rigs, was down 2.8 percent, sending the Straits Times Index 1.3 percent lower. The index earlier hit 3,155.60, the lowest since March 27.
Malaysia's oil and gas services firm SapuraKencana Petroleum Bhd dropped 5.3 percent, leading a fall in Kuala Lumpur's composite index, which at one point was down to 1,771.92, the lowest since Feb. 4.
In Bangkok, PTT, Thailand's top energy firm, eased 0.6 percent while PTT Exploration and Production
edged down 0.7 percent. The SET index was down 0.8 percent at 1,534.42, the lowest in a week.
Broker KGI Securities expected more downside for the SET index after it slipped below a key 1,540 level.
"Locally, there are few catalysts to revive the market as economic data is absent and investors are waiting for key global events like the U.S. FOMC meeting later this month and the ECB meeting in early November," it said in a report.
Profit-taking hit shares of state-run Krung Thai Bank after Wednesday's climb to a more than one-week high ahead of its quarterly results. Listed Thai banks are due to announce their July-September earnings by next week.
Bank earnings were also in focus in Indonesia, with stocks of Bank Negara Indonesia and Bank Tabungan Negara among the gainers.
"The top four banks will report better quarterly earnings than smaller banks and among the top four BBNI and Bank Central Asia (BBCA) should report good results," broker Trimegah Securities said in a report.
SOUTHEAST ASIAN STOCK MARKETS
Change at 0505 GMT
Market Current Prev Close Pct Move
Singapore 3157.36 3198.72 -1.29
Kuala Lumpur 1774.51 1786.84 -0.69
Bangkok 1534.42 1547.41 -0.84
Jakarta 4960.26 4962.94 -0.05
Manila 7013.79 6991.19 +0.32
Ho Chi Minh 596.53 604.29 -1.28