SE Asia Stocks-Gain after Fed hints at gradual policy tightening

By Chris Thomas
July 13 (Reuters) – Southeast Asian stock markets rose on
Thursday, in line with broader Asia, as investors were relieved
that U.S. Federal Reserve Chair Janet Yellen indicated a more
gradual tightening of monetary policy.
Yellen noted on Wednesday that while the U.S. economy was
healthy enough for the Fed to tighten policy, the federal funds
rate would not have to rise all that much further to reach a
neutral level that neither encourages nor discourages economic
“I think most Asian markets reacted positively to Yellen’s
speech last night,” said Victor Felix, an equity analyst with AB
Capital Securities.
Investors will now have confidence to take on more risks,
seeing that the Fed won’t be as quick to tighten monetary policy
as previously expected, he added.
MSCI’s broadest index of Asia-Pacific shares outside Japan
rose 1.2 percent to its highest since mid-2015.
In Southeast Asia, Philippine shares rose as much as
0.7 percent to hit a four-week high, heading for their third
consecutive session of gains.
Industrials and financials led the gains, with conglomerate
LT Group Inc providing the biggest boost to the index,
rising as much as 8.6 percent to a nine-week high.
Singapore shares also gained as much as 0.7 percent,
their biggest in a week, backed by financials and industrials.
DBS Group and United Overseas Bank rose
1.4 percent and 1.5 percent, respectively, while Jardine
Matheson Holdings climbed 2.3 percent.
Thai shares rose as much as 0.6 percent to their
highest in two weeks, led by gains in materials and energy
stocks. Siam Cement advanced 2 percent, while oil and
gas refiner PTT Pcl rose 1.3 percent.
Malaysian stocks were marginally higher ahead of
Bank Negara Malaysia’s policy meeting scheduled later in the
Malaysia’s central bank will likely leave its benchmark rate
unchanged, a Reuters poll showed, as inflation has been easing
after hitting an eight-year high in March.
Indonesia was largely flat, while Vietnam
rose marginally.

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Change on day
Market Current Previous Close Pct Move
Singapore 3229.52 3208.91 0.64
Bangkok 1581.93 1574.93 0.44
Manila 7954.96 7938.37 0.21
Jakarta 5819.5 5819.132 0.01
Kuala Lumpur 1757.89 1757.24 0.04
Ho Chi Minh 775.59 774.17 0.18

Change on year
Market Current End 2016 Pct Move
Singapore 3229.52 2880.76 12.11
Bangkok 1581.93 1542.94 2.53
Manila 7954.96 6840.64 16.29
Jakarta 5819.5 5296.711 9.87
Kuala Lumpur 1757.89 1641.73 7.08
Ho Chi Minh 775.59 664.87 16.65

(Reporting by Chris Thomas; Editing by Amrutha Gayathri)