August 25, 2017 / 10:45 AM / a year ago

SE Asia Stocks-Tepid; all eyes on central bankers' meet

    By Ambar Warrick
    Aug 25 (Reuters) - Southeast Asian stock markets were
sluggish on Friday as investors waited for directions on
monetary policy from a meeting of top central bankers in the
United States, with any hawkish comments likely to prompt
selling of regional equities.
    The world's top central bankers are meeting in Jackson Hole,
Wyoming, with concerns over the significance of a recent slide
in inflation renewing questions about whether a global
tightening of monetary policy can proceed.
    Both U.S. Federal Reserve Chair Janet Yellen and European
Central Bank President Mario Draghi are not expected to deliver
any fresh policy messages in the conference.
    "We believe Yellen is unlikely to rock the boat, but because
valuations and price are reaching historical highs, I think the
market is taking a conservative approach in making investment
decisions," said Taye Shim, head of research at Jakarta-based
Mirae Asset Sekuritas.
    In Southeast Asia, Malaysian stocks hit a two-week
closing low as disappointing earnings from sector heavyweights
dragged down the benchmark index. It lost about 0.4 percent on
    Sime Darby Bhd, the world's largest oil palm
planter by land size, closed at its lowest in more than five
months after fourth-quarter profit more than halved.

    Resort operator Genting Malaysia Bhd closed 4.3
percent lower after its second-quarter profit fell more than 50
    Singapore ended 0.4 percent lower, hurt by financials
and real estate stocks. 
    United Overseas Bank Ltd ended down 0.7 percent,
while Ascendas Real Estate Investment Trust closed at
its lowest in more than one month.
    The index however posted a marginal weekly gain. 
    The Indonesian index closed at a record high, on
strength in industrials and consumer staples. It rose about 0.4
percent this week.
    Unilever Indonesia ended at a record high, while
hotelier Plaza Indonesia Realty closed up 12.2
    Indonesia's central bank unexpectedly cut its benchmark
policy rate earlier this week, and said it expects the rupiah to
remain stable and rupiah-denominated assets to continue to be
    "Following the rate have been positive now
that the central bank and the president have a synchronised
growth agenda," said Taye Shim of Mirae Asset Sekuritas. "But on
the other hand, markets will have to embrace the fact that
foreign exchange volatility is going to be a little more
    An index of the country's 45 most liquid stocks
ended 0.5 percent higher.
For Asian Companies click;  

  Change on day                                          
  Market                Current      previous    Pct Move
  Singapore             3259.57      3272.16     -0.38
  Bangkok               1575.85      1575.96     -0.01
  Manila                8015.14      8004.93     0.13
  Jakarta               5915.363     5894.117    0.36
  Kuala Lumpur          1769.17      1775.5      -0.36
  Ho Chi Minh           771.63       769.77      0.24
  Change so far                                  
  Market                Current      End 2016    Pct Move
  Singapore             3259.57      2880.76     13.15
  Bangkok               1575.85      1542.94     2.13
  Manila                8015.14      6840.64     17.17
  Jakarta               5915.363     5296.711    11.68
  Kuala Lumpur          1769.17      1641.73     7.76
 Ho Chi Minh            771.63       664.87      16.06

 (Reporting by Ambar Warrick; Editing by Biju Dwarakanath)
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