May 8, 2018 / 10:37 AM / a year ago

SE Asia Stocks-Malaysia bounces back ahead of polls; Indonesia falls nearly 2 pct

    * Malaysia rises 1 pct after 4 sessions of decline
    * Indonesian posts lowest close in nine months
    * Thailand falls over 1 pct to 3-week closing low

    May 8 (Reuters) - Malaysian shares rose 1 percent on Tuesday
and snapped four straight sessions of decline a day ahead of the
general elections, while Indonesian stocks fell nearly 2 percent
to their lowest close in nine months.
    Malaysian Prime Minister Najib Razak and his ruling Barisan
Nasional coalition face their toughest general election yet on
Wednesday with an unprecedented challenge from Mahathir Mohamad,
Najib's former mentor turned opposition leader.
    The ringgit was near a four-month low on Tuesday.
Anything other than improved Barisan Nasional standings pose
significant downside risks to the currency, said Mizuho Bank.
    Financials led the gains on the Malaysian stock index
 with CIMB and Malayan Banking being
the biggest boosts. 
    Malaysian financial markets will be closed on Wednesday for
the elections.
    Indonesian shares fell for a third session in four,
a day after data showed the country's economic growth slowed
slightly in the first quarter, pressuring the currency.

    The rupiah extended its fall and hit the lowest since
December 2015 on Tuesday. 
    The tepid growth rate could put the central bank in a bind
at its May 16-17 policy meeting. Its governor has said the bank
could raise rates to halt further rupiah depreciation if that
threatened the inflation target or financial stability. 
    "Sluggish growth could limit Bank Indonesia's ability to
lift interest rate to restore financial stability," Mizuho Bank
said in a note.
    Telekomunikasi Indonesia was the biggest drag on
the index with a fall of 4.7 percent. An index of Indonesia's 45
most liquid stocks closed 2.2 percent lower.  
    Higher Treasury yields and pressured oil prices were other
factors impacting emerging markets.
    "With improving fundamentals, we think extended positioning
amid higher U.S. Treasury yields and U.S. dollar were the main
drivers (of losses)," Morgan Stanley said in a note.

    Oil prices fell slightly on Tuesday, a day after hitting
3-1/2-year highs, as investors awaited U.S. President Donald
Trump's decision on whether to withdraw the United States from
the Iran nuclear deal, a move that could disrupt global oil
    If Trump pulls the United Sates out of the Iran deal, the
heightened geopolitical tension could push up oil prices which
would negatively impact currencies of net oil-importing
countries such as Indonesia and the Philippines, said
Christopher Wong, a senior forex strategist at Maybank.
    Thai shares declined over 1 percent to a three-week
closing low, weighed by energy stocks. PTT, PTT
Exploration and Production and PTT Global Chemical
 fell between 2.2 percent and 4.7 percent.        
For Asian Companies click;  

 Market          Current   Previous close  Pct Move
 Singapore       3543.17   3532.86         0.29
 Bangkok         1760.25   1779.8          -1.10
 Manila          7577.57   7533.28         0.59
 Jakarta         5774.716  5885.098        -1.88
 Kuala Lumpur    1846.51   1828.2          1.00
 Ho Chi Minh     1060.45   1062.26         -0.17
 Change on year                            
 Market          Current   End 2017        Pct Move
 Singapore       3543.17   3402.92         4.12
 Bangkok         1760.25   1753.71         0.37
 Manila          7577.57   8558.42         -11.46
 Jakarta         5774.716  6355.654        -9.14
 Kuala Lumpur    1846.51   1796.81         2.77
 Ho Chi Minh     1060.45   984.24          7.74
 (Reporting by Susan Mathew in Bengaluru; Editing by Subhranshu
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