​SE Asia Stocks-Cautious on mixed U.S. data; Vietnam near 10-yr high

Vietnam climbed to a near 10-year high driven by gains in consumer staples and financial stocks

A screen displaying market data is seen inside the Philippine Stock Exchange in Manila's Makati financial district February 21, 2012. Photo: Reuters

Southeast Asian markets traded cautiously on Thursday following mixed data from the United States, while Vietnam climbed to a near 10-year high driven by gains in consumer staples and financial stocks.

Data revealed that U.S. companies scaled back their hiring to an 11-month low in September after two powerful hurricanes disrupted some business activities, while the vast domestic services sector overcame those snags to expand at its fastest pace in 12 years.

In Southeast Asia, Philippine shares edged down as investors booked profit after recent highs.

"The Philippine index was at an all-time high yesterday, for a fifth time this month. So, I think profit-taking is occurring," said Edgar Lay, an analyst at Manila-based AB Capital Securities.

Index heavyweight Ayala Land Inc fell 1.14 percent while SM Investments Corp slipped 0.4 percent.

Among other markets, Malaysian shares edged lower, weighed by telecom and consumer discretionary stocks. Genting Malaysia Bhd and Digi.Com Bhd fell 1.8 percent and 1.2 percent, respectively.

Indonesia shares, down 0.4 percent, took a breather after a record-setting five-day rally, posting their first fall in five days.

Astra International Tbk slid 0.6 percent while Unilever Indonesia Tbk fell over 1 percent.

The index of the country's 45 most liquid stocks fell 0.6 percent.

Meanwhile, Vietnam shares extended gains for a second straight session and rose as much as 0.61 to 810.54, their highest in nearly 10 years.

Vietcombank gained 1.7 percent, while food processing company Masan Group Corp jumped 3.3 percent.

Singapore shares rose 0.8 percent helped by financial and real estate stocks.

Bluechip stock CapitaLand Ltd gained 1.9 percent in early trade while DBS Group Holdings Ltd rose over 1 percent.

Thai equities were marginally up buoyed by telecom and material stocks. PTT Global Chemical Pcl and Advanced Info Service Pcl gained 1.6 percent and 0.5 percent, respectively.


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