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SE Asia stocks: Malaysia at four-month high; energy shares rise with global oil

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Southeast Asian stock markets were mixed on Monday as optimism about US jobs data and a rise in oil prices lifted sentiment in Asia, with Malaysian benchmark touching a more than four-month high in line with a rise in the ringgit.

[BANGKOK] Southeast Asian stock markets were mixed on Monday as optimism about US jobs data and a rise in oil prices lifted sentiment in Asia, with Malaysian benchmark touching a more than four-month high in line with a rise in the ringgit.

Kuala Lumpur composite index traded up 0.6 per cent, earlier climbing to its highest since Oct 26, 2015. Top gainers included shares of oil and gas company Sapurakencana Petroleum in line with global oil prices.

The ringgit hit a 7-1/2-month high, with other regional currencies rising, following data in the United States on Friday showing US employment gains surged in February.

The Thai SET index was up about 1 per cent, climbing at one point to the highest since Nov 24, 2015. Investors bought energy shares such as energy explorer PTT Exploration and Production sending its shares up 5.5 per cent.

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Maybank Kim Eng Securities said the SET could rise to 1,395-1,400.

"Positive investment sentiment such as the Nymex price recovering to above $35 per barrel last Friday and surplus liquidity in the global financial system will support the SET,"the broker said in a report.

Stocks in Vietnam extended gains for a fifth day, with energy shares such as PetroVietnam Gas leading the way.

Stocks in Singapore, Indonesia and the Philippines drifted slightly into negative territory, taking a breather after strong gains last week.

Asian shares as measured by MSCI's broadest index of Asia-Pacific shares outside Japan hit two-month highs also reflected a flurry of reassurances from Chinese leaders that the economy would remain on sound footing.

REUTERS

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