BANGKOK - Most Southeast Asian stock markets edged higher on Monday as domestic institutions bought large caps ahead of year-end but shares in Malaysia's AirAsia plunged after one of the company's aircraft went missing on Sunday.
The Philippine stock index rose 0.62 percent on its last trading day for the year.
It ended the year at a two-week high of 7,230.57, rising 22.8 percent in 2014, among the region's outperformers. That compares with a modest 1.3 percent rise in 2013.
The Philippine stock market will be closed from Dec. 30-Jan.2, reopening on Jan. 5.
Singapore's key Straits Times Index rose 0.3 percent to 3,364.64, extending gains made over the past seven sessions, while the Indonesian key index added 0.2 percent, on track for a third straight rise.
The Thai SET index slightly drifted into negative territory at 1,509.25, after posting modest gains in the morning session.
Broker Maybank Kim Eng Securities projected a trading range of 1,495-1,520 for SET for the day.
"A light trading volume will make the SET Index more volatile. However, window dressing and LTF money will help supporting today's SET Index," it said in a report.
Long-term equity funds (LTF) are more popular towards the end of the year as they receive favourable tax treatment.
About 3.6 billion shares had changed hands on the Thai stock market by midday, compared with a full day volume of 15 billion shares on Friday, stock exchange data showed.
In Kuala Lumpur, AirAsia shares fell 7.8 percent, their biggest one-day drop in more than three years, after Sunday's incident involving the airline's Indonesia unit.
The Bangkok-listed shares of Asia Aviation, the holding company of Thai AirAsia, in which the AirAsia group holds a 45 percent stake, were down 3.6 percent on Monday.
Broker Asia Plus Securities rated Thai Asia Aviation shares 'buy' as it expected no financial impact due to Indonesia's AirAsia incident.
"The share weakness was due to an indirect impact in terms of weak sentiment on Indonesia's AirAsia. We keep our earnings forecast for Thai Asia Aviation," it said.
Among the actively-traded stocks in the region, shares of Singapore DBS Group Holdings climbed 1.1 percent, Thailand's Kasikornbank was up 0.4 percent and Indonesia's Astra International gained 0.7 percent.