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Southeast Asia stocks: Malaysia's index off high, Singapore outperforms


[BANGKOK] Malaysian shares eased in range-bound trade on Tuesday after the government revised economic policy while Singapore's benchmark outperformed regional peers on course for a second straight day of gains amid selective buying in a reporting season.

Malaysia has widened its fiscal deficit target to 3.2 per cent of gross domestic product for 2015 and cut its forecast for economic growth to adjust its budget after a sharp fall in earnings from oil and gas, Prime Minister Najib Razak announced on Tuesday.

The Kuala Lumpur composite index traded 0.2 per cent lower, erasing small gains made earlier and retreating from a near three-week high on Monday before the policy announcement.

The ringgit hit a near six-year low on Tuesday.

Investors sold recent gainers, with shares of most actively traded Tenaga Nasional falling about 1 per cent after the previous day's gain. Shares of Sapurakencana Petroleum added 0.4 per cent, among top gainers on the index.

Singapore's key Straits Times Index was up almost one per cent. Shares of CapitaCommercial Trust and Keppel Land rose in strong volume before quarterly results expected on Tuesday.

In Bangkok, shares of the biggest energy firm PTT Pcl fell almost one per cent in early trade, after a 3.4 per cent jump on Monday while the key SET index was nearly flat at 1,535.53.

"The stabilised oil market means the rally in energy stocks may fade in the near term ... Meanwhile, overall trading sentiment remains positive ahead of the ECB meeting on Thursday," said broker KGI Securities in a report.

Stocks in Indonesia, the Philippines and Vietnam were little changed.

Asian markets breathed a sigh of relief on Tuesday after China reported its economy had not slowed as far as many had feared, a rare glint of brightness amid gloom over the global outlook.