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SE Asia: Most markets higher, Singapore leads gains on the week

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Most Southeast Asian stock markets tracked Asia higher on Friday, with stocks in Singapore extending their rally along with a rise in the city-state's dollar.

[BANGKOK] Most Southeast Asian stock markets tracked Asia higher on Friday, with stocks in Singapore extending their rally along with a rise in the city-state's dollar while Malaysian stocks trimmed some early gains after an unexpected fall in exports in January.

The key Straits Times Index traded up 1.5 per cent, its sixth straight day of gains, to the highest since Jan 6. It is heading for a nearly 7 per cent gain on the week, Southeast Asia's best performer.

The Singapore dollar rose to its firmest in four months versus the US dollar on reduced expectations the Federal Reserve would raise interest rates soon.

Kuala Lumpur composite index was slightly up 0.4 per cent. Investors appeared turning cautious after early data showed January exports unexpectedly fell for the first time in eight months, reflecting weak oil shipments.

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The index is poised for about 2 per cent rise on the week. Most other sharemarkets in the region are on track for a positive week after relatively downbeat performances a week earlier.

In Bangkok, some profit taking weighed on the key SET index which traded in an overbought zone, with its 14-day Relative Strength Index well above 70.

Continued gains in global markets and commodity prices as concerns over global growth abated could keep the market high up, said strategists at broker Asia Wealth Securities in a report.

"Markets players hope the upcoming US non-farm payrolls data point to solid job gains but not strong enough for rate hikes in the near term," they wrote.

Stocks in Vietnam posted modest gains, with Indonesia and the Philippines both drifting into negative territory.

Asian shares looked set on Friday to post their strongest week in five months as global investors returned to risk assets after a string of positive US economic data and a bounce in oil and commodity prices.

REUTERS

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