SE Asia Stocks-Most gain as Fed hints at rate cuts; Philippines slips

Credit: REUTERS/ROMEO RANOCO

Most Southeast Asian stock markets edged higher on Thursday, as dovish comments from the U.S. Federal Reserve boosted global equities, while signs that Sino-U.S. trade talks were set to resume also helped sentiment.

By Rashmi Ashok

June 20 (Reuters) - Most Southeast Asian stock markets edged higher on Thursday, as dovish comments from the U.S. Federal Reserve boosted global equities, while signs that Sino-U.S. trade talks were set to resume also helped sentiment.

The Fed on Wednesday signalled interest rate cuts beginning as early as July, saying it was ready to battle growing global and domestic economic risks, in a marked shift in tone since its last policy meeting.

The commentary was widely seen as more dovish than expected, sending global stocks higher.

Singapore shares .STI were the top performers in Southeast Asia, heading for a fifth winning session in six. Lender DBS Group Holdings DBSM.SI was among the top gainers, up 1.5%.

Thailand .SETI, Malaysia .KLSE and Vietnam .VNI notched modest gains.

Meanwhile, market participants keenly await policy decisions from the Philippine and Indonesian central banks due later in the day.

The Bangko Sentral ng Pilipinas (BSP) is expected cut benchmark rates for the second meeting in a row, though a Reuters poll suggested it would be a close call as policymakers try to strike a balance between supporting growth and curbing inflation pressures.

"After cutting (rates by) 25 bps (basis points) in May, the main uncertainty now is how patient BSP will be in allowing for impact of the latest rate cut to materialize and we think that another rate cut this week can't be ruled out," analysts at Mizuho Bank said in a note. Philippine stocks .PSI slipped in thin trade as investors adopted a wait-and-watch stance ahead of the central bank's rate decision. Volumes were at a small fraction of their 30-day average.

Large-cap industrial stocks accounted for most of the losses, with conglomerates SM Investments Corp SM.PS and JG Summit Holdings JGS.PS declining 1.9% and 2.1%, respectively.

Indonesian stocks .JKSE inched lower after adding 2.4% in the previous two sessions.

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SOUTHEAST ASIAN STOCK MARKETS at 0307 GMT

Change on the day

Market

Current

Previous close

Pct Move

Singapore

3311.11

3288.17

0.70

Bangkok

1710.84

1705.98

0.28

Manila

7975.83

8017.01

-0.51

Jakarta

6331.927

6339.262

-0.12

Kuala Lumpur

1668.98

1666.54

0.15

Ho Chi Minh

950.61

949.69

0.10

Change so far in 2019

Market

Current

End 2018

Pct Move

Singapore

3311.11

3068.76

7.90

Bangkok

1710.84

1563.88

9.40

Manila

7975.83

7,466.02

6.83

Jakarta

6331.927

6,194.50

2.22

Kuala Lumpur

1668.98

1690.58

-1.28

Ho Chi Minh

950.61

892.54

6.51

(Reporting by Rashmi Ashok; Editing by Subhranshu Sahu)

((Rashmi.Ashok@thomsonreuters.com; +918067491689; Reuters Messaging: rashmi.ashok.thomsonreuters.com@reuters.net))

The views and opinions expressed herein are the views and opinions of the author and do not necessarily reflect those of Nasdaq, Inc.

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