SE Asia Stocks-Rise to multi-week highs on U.S. debt deal

PHOTO: SE Asia Stocks-Rise to multi-week highs on U.S. debt deal

BANGKOK - Southeast Asian stocks followed other regional markets higher on Thursday with broad-based buying in large caps sending the Philippine index to a four-week high and most benchmarks climbing to highs last hit in late September.

Sentiment across Asia got a boost after legislators produced a last-minute deal to lift the US government's borrowing limit and dodge a potentially catastrophic debt default.

Trading on the Philippine exchange was relatively active, more than double the full-day average over the past 30 sessions, led by conglomerate Metro Pacific Investments Corp and top lender BDO Unibank.

The Philippine main index, the second-strongest performer in Southeast Asia this year, climbed 0.8 per cent, extending gains from the previous session when it drew net foreign inflows of 591 million peso (S$17 million), stock exchange data showed.

Among the outperformers, the Thai SET index was up nearly 1 per cent at the 0530 GMT midday break, with buyers piling into shares in growth sectors including telecoms, led by mobile phone operator Advanced Info Service.

Shares in satellite operator Thaicom Pcl rallied as much as 3.3 per cent to a five-month high after a broker recommendation.

"Telecom is our favourite sector going into 2014 and we add Thaicom to our top picks list," Pimpaka Nichgaroon, head of research at broker Thanachart Securities, wrote in a report dated Oct. 16.

"We expect its new satellite to immediately make profit at its launch by the end of this year," the report said.

Buying demand in an earnings season bolstered markets across exchanges, with Bangkok-listed Krung Thai Bank Pcl rising 1 per cent ahead of its results which analysts expect would outperform the sector.

Thai banks are due to report their July-September earnings by Oct. 22.

In Singapore, shares in Keppel Land rose 1.4 per cent after the company reported a 70 per cent rise in quarterly net profit from a year earlier.