Stocks steady

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    Thai shares weakened, dragged by telecoms on poor corporate earnings, while Indonesian stocks edged higher after a surprise trade surplus in October.

    Thailand’s SET index closed lower for the third straight session, shedding 2.2 percent for the week.

    Shares of True Corp Pcl slumped 9.7 percent to a more than six-year closing low, after the telecom services provider posted a 24 percent dive in third-quarter core profit and missed Jefferies’ forecast by a steep margin.

    “True appears to be the least beneficiary of the ongoing mobile market collaboration and is clearly in an inferior financial position to embrace an upcoming 5G capex cycle,” Jefferies analysts said, and removed the stock as their top sector pick.

    True’s smaller rival RS Pcl also reported a drop in quarterly profit, sending its shares down 11.6 percent and posting its lowest close since August 2017.

    Indonesian shares advanced after two sessions of losses after trade data showed exports declined at a slower-than-expected pace, and a trade surplus of $161.3 million.

    Financials led the gains, with Bank Rakyat Indonesia (Persero) Tbk PT and Bank Mandiri (Persero) Tbk PT jumping 3.8 percent and 1.1 percent, respectively.

    Malaysian shares ended a tick higher after data showed its economy grew by 4.4 percent in the third quarter, the slowest pace in a year but within expectations.

    The central bank, however, said it expected growth to remain positive and reaffirmed its 2019 outlook.

    Malaysian shares lost 0.9 percent for the week.

    Singapore stocks were little changed as a surge in industrial stocks was offset by a slump in telecoms.

    Singapore Telecommunications Ltd dropped 3.6 percent after the city state’s third-biggest firm posted its first ever quarterly loss after market hours on Thursday. – Reuters