Subdued as caution prevails ahead of French elections

JAKARTA: Southeast Asian stock markets trod with caution on Thursday in the absence of economic cues while uncertainties around the upcoming French elections muted global risk appetite.
The sense of caution was exacerbated by  weakness on Wall Street and overnight decline in commodity prices, especially oil.    
The French presidential elections will be closely watched as the stakes for investors are high, with two anti-EU, anti-euro candidates among the four seen still in contention to make it to a second round two weeks after Sunday's ballot.
Singapore shares rose 0.4 percent, helped by
industrials and consumer stocks, with Jardine Matheson Holdings  gaining 2.3 percent.
Keppel Corp fell 1.4 percent, while Sembcorp 
Industries reversed earlier losses to add 0.3 percent.
Indonesian shares, which see-sawed earlier in the session, closed down 0.2 percent. 
The market was closed on Wednesday for gubernatorial elections in Jakarta.
Polls showed that incumbent Governor Basuki "Ahok" Tjahaja Purnama, seen by some analysts as foreign investor-friendly, had
lost his bid for re-election by a big margin.
Philippine shares shares finished 0.5 percent higher as consumer and energy stocks powered through, with food packaging firm San Miguel Corp rising 2.8 percent. 
Vietnam shares moved within a tight range and
finished down 0.6 percent, while Thailand posted a slight decline.