BENGALURU: Thai stocks closed lower on Monday, falling most in the Southeast Asia region amid political turmoil in the country, while Vietnam markets surged as trade resumed after a week-long holiday.
The Thai benchmark ended 0.8 percent lower. Mobile services provider Advanced Info Service fell about 3.7 percent, while Airports of Thailand ended 1.5 percent lower. Both stocks were the biggest drags on the Thai index.
Meanwhile, the country's election panel disqualified the sister of the king from running for prime minister, putting an end to the controversial, short-lived candidacy by echoing King Maha Vajiralongkorn's words that royalty should be "above politics".
The announcement came after market hours.
On the other hand, Vietnam benchmark ended about 1.9 percent higher as trade resumed after a week-long Lunar New Year holiday. Gains on the benchmark were largely broad-based, with real estate and financial stocks in the lead.
The index clocked its best session since early-December, and was at a near 8-week high.
Shares of property developer Vingroup gained about 4.3 percent, while those of Joint Stock Commercial Bank for Foreign Trade of Vietnam ended 2.8 percent higher.
Other Southeast Asian markets traded in a flat-to-low range as markets adopted a wait and see approach with trade negotiations between the U.S. and China recommencing from Monday.
Singapore stocks pared early losses to end largely flat. Liu Jinshu, head of research at Tayrona Financial said there was some resistance emerging above the 3,200 level, particularly due to the market being unable to make significant progress above that level on Friday.
Worries over the Chinese economy have cast a shadow over Singapore's prospects, owing to the island nation's large electronic exports to the country.
A U.S. delegation arrived in Beijing on Monday to recommence talks, ahead of the March 1 deadline to reach a trade deal.
China is Southeast Asia's largest trading partner, and its trade tiff with the U.S. has exacted a heavy toll on the region. - Reuters