By Aparajita Saxena
March 16 Southeast Asian stocks rose on Thursday
tracking an overnight rally in global shares after Federal
Reserve Chair Janet Yellen's comments suggested a more gradual
pace of monetary tightening this year than many had expected.
The decision to lift the interest rate for the second time
in three months marked a convincing step in the Fed's effort to
return monetary policy to a more normal footing.
U.S. stocks closed sharply higher on Wednesday following the
announcement, but financial stocks took a hit and ended
0.13 percent lower.
However, banking shares were among the top gainers in
Wider Asian markets rose as much as 1.4
percent to their highest level in 20 months.
"The rate hike works in two ways for the Asian markets - for
one, I think the "accommodative" stance of the Fed, despite the
hike, was well received by the market. Emerging market (EM)
equities are likely to get a breather from the uncertainties
related to the pace of rate hikes," said Taye Shim, head of
research at Mirae Asset Sekuritas.
"Secondly, rate increases driven by inflation should bode
well for EM equities as companies have a good excuse to increase
their selling prices," he added.
Indonesia rose as much as 1.13 percent to a near
two-year high, led by Bank Rakyat and Bank Central
The Indonesia index of the 45 most liquid stocks
rose 1.35 percent to its highest in four months.
Gains in Singapore were led by oil rig builder Keppel
Corp on the back of oil rallies and a weaker dollar
that makes the greenback-denominated oil less expensive for
holders of other currencies.
The Straits Times Index climbed to its highest level
in over one-and-a-half years, with all big three banks gaining.
Malaysia's second-largest lender by assets CIMB Group
led the gains in financials, soaring to its highest in
20 months, adding 2.9 points to the index.
Gains in Thailand were led by energy and industrials
while financials were among the top gainers in Vietnam.
For Asian Companies click;
SOUTHEAST ASIAN STOCK MARKETS; Change at 0415 GMT
Market Current Previous Close Pct Move
Singapore 3163.19 3137.43 0.82
Bangkok 1551.62 1540.8 0.70
Manila 7281.78 7253.79 0.39
Jakarta 5488.582 5432.381 1.03
Kuala Lumpur 1732.65 1717.36 0.89
Ho Chi Minh 714.6 713.14 0.20
Change this year
Market Current End 2016 Pct Move
Singapore 3163.19 2880.76 9.80
Bangkok 1551.62 1542.94 0.56
Manila 7281.78 6840.64 6.45
Jakarta 5488.582 5296.711 3.62
Kuala Lumpur 1732.65 1641.73 5.54
Ho Chi Minh 714.6 664.87 7.48
(Reporting by Aparajita Saxena in Bengaluru; Editing by Vyas