MANILA - Most Southeast Asian stocks rose on Wednesday as strength in global markets boosted regional large-caps, pushing the Philippine index to a five-month high while palm plantation stocks rebounded in Malaysia on rising palm oil prices.
The Philippine index rose 1.2 percent to 6,587.72, its highest since Oct. 31. Shares of Ayala Land, the most actively traded, jumped 3.3 percent to its highest since July.
The Philippine stock market had rallied this week, thanks to foreign fund inflows into the region.
Among the day's big gainers were Puregold, which surged 4% to P45.75 per share after it announced strong 2013 earnings and a bullish outlook this year.
Property developers also led gainers, after the Bangko Sentral kept interest rates at record lows last year.
Ayala Land rose over 2% to P31.05 a share, while Henry Sy's SM Prime Holdings jumped 1.7% to P15.16.
Megawide also surged 5.44% on news the Mactan-Cebu International Airport project will be awarded this week. Megawide and its partner GMR had submitted the highest bid for the project.
At the foreign exchange market, the peso weakened to P44.88 against the US dollar.
Meanwhile, in Kuala Lumpur, the index edged up 0.2 percent, the first in three sessions. Plantation stocks, including PPB Group and Kuala Lumpur Kepong, recouped some of their recent losses after Malaysian palm oil futures rose for the first time this week.
In Bangkok, selective buying in banking shares such as Kasikornbank and Bangkok Bank lifted the key SET index by 0.4 percent at midday.
"With U.S. and Europe closing strongly overnight and regional markets trading higher this morning, bias looks overly positive today," strategists at broker Krungsri Securities wrote in a report.
Investors could selectively buy shares, with the index holding well above 1,380, technically pointing to upward momentum of the broader market, they said.
Jakarta's Composite Index was nearly flat as profit taking hit shares of Telkom Indonesia. Shares of Bank Mandiri extended gains amid optimism over an improving economic outlook.
In Singapore, Noble Group Ltd rose after China's largest grain trader COFCO Corp agreed to buy a stake in its agribusiness.
Vietnam's benchmark VN Index fell as buying by foreign investors failed to curb the impact of selling.
U.S. stocks rose for a third straight session on Tuesday after positive data on factory activity while Asian share markets added to their recent rally on Wednesday as investors chose to accentuate the positive in a mixed bag of global economic data. - With reports from Reuters and ANC