February 14, 2018 / 4:02 AM / 8 days ago

SE Asia Stocks-Cautious as investors await U.S. inflation data; Philippines drops

    * Philippines weakest market in region
    * Most markets subdued, Vietnam closed for holiday

    By Christina Martin
    Feb 14 (Reuters) - Most Southeast Asian stock markets traded
on a cautious note on Wednesday, mirroring broader Asia as
investors awaited a U.S. inflation report that could hold clues
on rate hike movements globally.
    Investors said the U.S. consumer price readings due later in
the day will be key to where stocks move in the short term,
given it was the risk of accelerating inflation that sparked the
recent global equity rout. 
    MSCI's broadest index of Asia-Pacific shares outside Japan
 rose 0.4 percent.
    "The markets are on tenterhooks awaiting tonight's critical
U.S. CPI data. Last week, the market took the uptick in
inflation very poorly," said Stephen Innes, head of trading for
Asia Pacific at Oanda.
    "Will we see a reply to last week's tumult if inflation
rears its ugly head? An inflation scare could push Treasury
yields much higher and send equities spiralling lower." 
    The Philippine index dropped as much as 0.8 percent,
making it the worst performer in the region, dragged by
industrials and financials. 
    "The PSI is struggling. The currency (peso) is hurting due
to expanding trade deficit, but more so traders are worried
about more outflow," said Innes. 
    The country has not been accumulating reserves since 2012,
and its central bank projects there was a current account
deficit last year and it forecasts a deficit of $700 million
this year. 
    San Miguel Corp was the biggest drag on the main
index, slumping as much as 4.6 percent to an over-three-week
low. 
    Singapore shares inched down slightly, as financial
stocks weighed. 
    Singapore's fourth-quarter economic growth was revised lower
on a quarter-on-quarter basis on Wednesday, due to a contraction
in the manufacturing sector which has come under pressure
recently.
    Heavyweights Oversea-Chinese Banking Corporation Ltd
 and United Overseas Bank Ltd reported strong
quarterly net profit growth but downgraded their exposure to the
weak oil and gas sector, making them the biggest losers on the
index. 
    Malaysia edged down 0.2 percent, with utilities
leading the losses, while shares in Indonesia and
Thailand inched up slightly. 
    Vietnam was closed for a holiday. 
    
For Asian Companies click;  
    
SOUTHEAST ASIAN STOCK MARKETS: Change at 0358 GMT
    
 Change on the day                            
 Market             Current   Previous close  Pct Move
 Singapore          3414.53   3415.07         -0.02
 Bangkok            1802.84   1800.03         0.16
 Manila             8508.16   8570.14         -0.72
 Jakarta            6581.615  6578.178        0.05
 Kuala Lumpur       1833.92   1833.02         0.05
                                              
 Change on year                               
 Market             Current   End 2017        Pct Move
 Singapore          3414.53   3402.92         0.34
 Bangkok            1802.84   1753.71         2.80
 Manila             8508.16   8558.42         -0.59
 Jakarta            6581.615  6355.654        3.56
 Kuala Lumpur       1833.92   1796.81         2.07
 
 (Reporting by Christina Martin in Bengaluru; Editing by Sunil
Nair)
  
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