By Christina Martin
March 1 Most Southeast Asian stock markets were
mixed on Wednesday as U.S. President Donald Trump did not offer
further details on his plans for infrastructure spending and tax
reforms, while the dollar strengthened on growing expectations
of a Fed rate hike this month.
A handful of Fed policymakers on Tuesday jolted markets into
higher expectations for a March rate hike, with comments that
suggested rate-setters are worried about waiting too long in the
face of pending economic stimulus from Washington.
"It seems that the possibility of a rate hike is going to
affect emerging economies," said Lexter Azurin, head of research
at Unicapital Securities Inc in Manila.
Trump in his address to a joint session of Congress offered
little detail about planned tax cuts or new infrastructure
spending beyond the broad strokes he offered during the election
Singapore shares closed 0.8 percent higher, snapping
three consecutive sessions of losses, boosted by industrials and
Among the top gainers, Keppel Corp climbed 4.1
percent to its highest close since Nov. 6, 2015, while
Oversea-Chinese Banking Corp gained 0.7 percent.
Philippine shares fell for a fourth straight session,
posting their lowest close since Jan. 18, dragged down by
industrial and telecom stocks.
JG Summit Holdings Inc dropped 3.1 percent and
telecoms services provider PLDT Inc declined 4.1
percent, making them the worst performers on the index.
Indonesian shares declined 0.4 percent with losses
spread across sectors, as data showed annual inflation rate
increased in February, mainly due to higher prices for processed
and raw foods as well as healthcare.
With the possibility of a March Fed rate hike, "markets are
a little bit concerned that a higher interest rate environment
would put pressure on the local economy, given the fact that
inflation has started to pick up here," said Taye Shim, head of
research at Jakarta-based Mirae Asset Sekuritas.
Thai shares ended 0.5 percent higher with
financials, telecoms and materials leading the gains.
Thailand's annual headline consumer prices and core
inflation rate, which excludes raw food and energy prices, rose
less than expected in February.
Bangkok Bank PCL rose nearly 2 percent, while True
Corporation PCL increased 3.2 percent.
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SOUTHEAST ASIAN STOCK MARKETS: Change on day
Market Current Previous Close Pct Move
Singapore 3122.77 3096.61 0.84
Bangkok 1567.19 1559.56 0.49
Manila 7170.7 7212.09 -0.57
Jakarta 5363.056 5386.692 -0.44
Kuala Lumpur 1697.69 1693.77 0.23
Ho Chi Minh 709.52 710.79 -0.18
Change on year
Market Current End 2016 Pct Move
Singapore 3122.77 2880.76 8.40
Bangkok 1567.19 1542.94 1.57
Manila 7170.7 6840.64 4.82
Jakarta 5363.056 5296.711 1.25
Kuala Lumpur 1697.69 1641.73 3.41
Ho Chi Minh 709.52 664.87 6.72
(Reporting by Christina Martin; Editing by Subhranshu Sahu)