By Aparajita Saxena
March 16 Southeast Asian stock markets ended
higher on Thursday with Indonesia closing at its highest in
nearly two years, as the U.S. Federal Reserve raised rates but
signalled a more gradual pace of monetary tightening this year
than many had expected.
In a move spurred by steady economic growth, strong job
gains and confidence that inflation is rising to the central
bank's target, the Fed raised rates by 25 basis points, its
second in three months, with Chair Janet Yellen emphasizing that
future rate increases would be "gradual".
In Asia, MSCI's broadest index of Asia-Pacific shares
outside Japan rose as much as 1.7 percent to its
highest level in 20 months, while U.S. stocks rose sharply
"The rate hike works in two ways for the Asian markets,"
said Taye Shim, head of research at Jakarta-based Mirae Asset
"For one, I think the "accommodative" stance of the Fed,
despite the hike, was well received by the market. Emerging
market equities are likely to get a breather from the
uncertainties related to the pace of rate hikes."
"Secondly, rate increases driven by inflation should bode
well for EM equities as companies have a good excuse to increase
their selling prices."
In Southeast Asia, banks, which usually tend to benefit from
rate hike cycles that allow them to charge more money for loans,
were among the top gainers.
Indonesia closed at its highest since April 2015,
driven by financials and consumer discretionary stocks, with
Unilever Indonesia, Telekom Indonesia and
Bank Rakyat Indonesia spearheading gains.
An index of the 45 most liquid stocks rose 2.19
percent to its highest in nearly four months.
In Singapore, gains were led by oil rig builder Keppel Corp
as global oil prices rose, and on a weaker dollar,
which makes greenback-denominated oil less expensive for holders
of other currencies.
The Straits Times Index climbed to its highest level
in more than 18 months.
Malaysia's second-largest lender by assets CIMB Group
supported gains on the index, hitting its
highest mark in 21 months.
Philippines rose modestly, helped by industrials,
while Vietnam eked out small gains.
For Asian Companies click;
SOUTHEAST ASIAN STOCK MARKETS; CHANGE ON DAY
Market Current Previous Close Pct Move
Singapore 3163.52 3137.43 0.83
Bangkok 1557.01 1540.8 1.05
Manila 7278.6 7253.79 0.34
Jakarta 5518.241 5432.381 1.58
Kuala Lumpur 1737.14 1717.36 1.15
Ho Chi Minh 714.92 713.14 0.25
Change this year
Market Current End 2016 Pct Move
Singapore 3163.52 2880.76 9.82
Bangkok 1557.01 1542.94 0.91
Manila 7278.6 6840.64 6.40
Jakarta 5518.241 5296.711 4.18
Kuala Lumpur 1737.14 1641.73 5.81
Ho Chi Minh 714.92 664.87 7.53
(Reporting by Aparajita Saxena in Bengaluru; Editing by Biju