By Sindhu Chandrasekaran
March 21 Most Southeast Asian stock markets eked
out small gains on Tuesday as the prospects of a less-hawkish
interest rate policy by the U.S. Federal Reserve helped market
participants overcome concerns of immediate capital outflows
from the region.
Expectations that the Fed would have to step up rate hikes
to counter inflationary pressure from President Donald Trump's
stimulus are also waning after the U.S. central bank dropped no
hints of an acceleration in credit tightening last week.
"There is a little bit more room for the Federal Reserve to
manoeuvre its monetary policy," said Taye Shim, head of research
at Jakarta-based Mirae Asset Sekuritas.
"So, I would not be so stuck with the Fed's guidance of
three rate hikes this year. I think there is still a possibility
that it's going to be two rate hikes this year. For now, I think
the Fed's accommodative monetary stance is enough of a relief to
drive the markets higher."
In Thailand, shares closed 0.3 percent higher, with
energy stocks accounting for nearly half the gains. PTT PCL
ended 1 percent higher.
Indonesian shares were up marginally, rising for
six out of seven sessions, supported by energy and financial
Coal miner Baramulti Suksessarana Tbk and PT Bank
Central Asia Tbk both hit record highs.
Philippine shares pared early gains to close slightly
higher, led by industrials. International Container Terminal
Services Inc closed up 3.1 percent.
Malaysia was up 0.3 percent, while Singapore
closed marginally lower.
In Asia, MSCI's broadest index of Asia-Pacific shares
outside Japan was up 0.4 percent as of 1031 GMT.
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SOUTHEAST ASIAN STOCK MARKETS
Change on day
Market Current previous Pct Move
Singapore 3158.57 3165.7 -0.23
Bangkok 1568.78 1563.54 0.34
Manila 7323.31 7316.57 0.09
Jakarta 5543.093 5533.992 0.16
Kuala Lumpur 1754.67 1749.41 0.30
Ho Chi Minh 716.18 715.07 0.16
Change on year
Market Current End 2016 Pct Move
Singapore 3158.57 2880.76 9.64
Bangkok 1568.78 1542.94 1.67
Manila 7323.31 6840.64 7.1
Jakarta 5543.093 5296.711 4.65
Kuala Lumpur 1754.67 1641.73 6.88
Ho Chi Minh 716.18 664.87 7.7
(Reporting by Sindhu Chandrasekaran; Editing by Biju