SE Asia Stocks-Cautious as Korea tensions brew; Fed minutes awaited

By Chandini Monnappa
July 5 (Reuters) – Southeast Asian markets were largely
range-bound on Wednesday as tensions brewing on the Korean
peninsula kept investor sentiment subdued as they awaited
further clues on the U.S. Federal Reserve’s monetary policy.
A holiday in the United States and a lack of market
catalysts muted Asian trading, although minutes of the Federal
Reserve’s last meeting due later in the day could signal how
committed it was to raising rates again this year and any detail
on plans to wind back its massive balance sheet.
Risk sentiment took a hit as North Korea said it had
conducted a test of a newly developed intercontinental ballistic
missile (ICBM) that can carry a large and heavy nuclear warhead.

“Southeast Asian markets are quite mixed due to geopolitical
tensions created by the launching of ICBM from North Korea,”
said Manny Cruz, an analyst with Manila-based Asiasec Equities
“I think the cautiousness is due to the perception that it
might precede some harsh action from major countries like U.S.
and Japan.”
Meanwhile, a private business survey showed China’s services
sector grew at a slower pace in June as new orders slumped,
pointing to a softening outlook for the economy.
Singapore shares gained as much as 0.7 percent, aided
by financial stocks, with Oversea-Chinese Banking Corp
climbing as much as 0.7 percent.
Philippine shares were flat, with industrials such as
Aboitiz Equity Ventures Inc weighing down the index.
The Philippines’ annual inflation eased for a second
straight month in June due to slower price increases in food and
transport, data from the statistics agency showed on
Indonesian shares edged lower, dragged by telecom
stocks such as Telekomunikasi Indonesia (Persero) Tbk PT
, which fell as much as 1.1 percent.

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Change on the day
Market Current Previous Close Pct Move
Singapore 3224.3 3211.17 0.41
Bangkok 1578.67 1574.11 0.29
Manila 7831.27 7833.96 -0.03
Jakarta 5861.084 5865.364 -0.07
Kuala Lumpur 1762.33 1762.08 0.01
Ho Chi Minh 776.01 775.54 0.06

Change on year
Market Current End 2016 Pct Move
Singapore 3224.3 2880.76 11.93
Bangkok 1578.67 1542.94 2.32
Manila 7831.27 6840.64 14.48
Jakarta 5861.084 5296.711 10.66
Kuala Lumpur 1762.33 1641.73 7.35
Ho Chi Minh 776.01 664.87 16.72

(Reporting by Chandini Monnappa; Editing by Amrutha Gayathri)