The Philippine index set a record close for a sixth session on Monday as a strong domestic economy bolstered buying into consumer stocks, while the Thai benchmark index ended at a 16-1/2 year peak, spurred by gains in large caps such as PTT Pcl. The Philippine benchmark index ended at 5,672.70, above Friday's record of 5,640.45, on strong trading volume, which was 2.76 times the average full-day volume in the last 30 sessions.
Investors piled into consumer stocks such as top mall operator SM Prime Holdings Inc, the most actively traded, which gained 3.9 percent on strong trading volumes of 2.8 times the monthly average. The Thai SET index closed at 1.332.92, its highest since April, 1996. PTT, Thailand's biggest energy firm, led the gains by Thailand-listed bluechips, rising 1.6 percent.
SM Prime Holdings and PTT were among Macquarie's selective picks in the region, the broker said in its equities research note. Macquarie said selective opportunities existed in sectors such as energy for Indonesia and Thailand. "With a generally enticing macro-economic backdrop supporting long-term economic growth in ASEAN, we seek to discover where the more attractive opportunities lie at present given unfavourable investment characteristics," the broker said. "We retain an underweight stance on ASEAN from a regional perspective, but admit that a single brush stroke may not be optimal given the striking differences between the countries and sectors.
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