By Christina Martin
May 3 Singapore shares extended gains into a
second session on Wednesday, helped by financials, while most
other Southeast Asian markets finished lower as investors were
cautious ahead of the U.S. Federal Reserve's policy decision.
The Fed, which concludes its two-day meeting later in the
day, is expected to hold interest rates steady, but may hint
that it is on track for a hike in June.
"The Fed meeting... is widely watched by most market
participants on what the decision is going to be on the rate
hike, well not necessarily the rate hike but the rate decision,
as well as what they're going to do with their balance sheet,"
said Taye Shim, head of research at Mirae Asset Sekuritas
MSCI's broadest index of Asia-Pacific shares outside Japan
fell 0.2 percent, while expectations that the
Federal Reserve might signal a June rate hike helped lift the
Shares in Indonesia, Southeast Asia's largest
economy, fell 0.5 percent to their lowest close since April 20,
with losses being broad-based.
"For Indonesia, I don't think that first-quarter GDP, which
is expected to be out Friday, is going to top market
expectations," said Shim.
Bank Indonesia said economic growth in the first quarter was
likely slower than its initial expectation, pointing to
declining retail sales.
Philippine shares fell 0.3 percent with financials
and telecoms leading the decline.
GT Capital Holdings Inc dipped 2.6 percent, while
Globe Telecom Inc dropped 2.3 percent.
Asian equities saw inflows of about $3 billion in the week
ended April 28, after two weeks of outflows, with Korea and
Thailand receiving the highest, followed by Malaysia which got
$332.6 million, MIDF Research said in a note.
"Foreign buying on Bursa has now stretched for 12
consecutive weeks, the longest since the 24-week buying streak
which ended in May 2013, the month of the last General
Election," said MIDF Research.
Malaysian shares closed 0.3 percent lower, dragged
down by financial, consumer and material stocks.
In Singapore, financials outperformed other sectors.
Oversea-Chinese Banking Corp Ltd rose 2 percent and
United Overseas Bank Ltd added 1.9 percent.
Vietnam climbed 0.3 percent, posting their highest
close since April 13, boosted by financials, while Thailand
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SOUTHEAST ASIAN STOCK MARKETS: Change on day
Market Current Previous Close Pct Move
Singapore 3237.81 3211.11 0.83
Bangkok 1564.12 1564.12 0.00
Manila 7682.26 7703.1 -0.27
Jakarta 5647.368 5675.808 -0.50
Kuala Lumpur 1772.51 1778.47 -0.34
Ho Chi Minh 719.54 717.73 0.25
Change on year
Market Current End 2016 Pct Move
Singapore 3237.81 2880.76 12.39
Bangkok 1564.12 1542.94 1.37
Manila 7682.26 6840.64 12.30
Jakarta 5647.368 5296.711 6.62
Kuala Lumpur 1772.51 1641.73 7.97
Ho Chi Minh 719.54 664.87 8.22
(Reporting by Christina Martin; Editing by Subhranshu Sahu)