March 18, 2019 / 9:56 AM / 3 months ago

SE Asia Stocks-Most rise as Fed seen accommodative; Philippines bounces back

    * Thai stocks fall for third consecutive session
    * Indonesia hits more than two-week closing high

    By Shreya Mariam Job
    March 18 (Reuters) - Most Southeast Asian stock markets rose
on Monday, with Philippines leading the pack, as hopes of the
U.S. Federal Reserve maintaining a dovish stance at a policy
meeting on Wednesday buoyed risk appetite. 
    With growth due to slow over the next three years and the
Fed's preferred measure of inflation not expected to show any
significant pick up, an increasing number of economists have
turned dovish on the U.S. interest rate outlook with a hike
expected only in the third quarter, according to a Reuters poll.

    The Fed's rigorous rate hike cycle last year had taken a
toll on Southeast Asian economies, compelling central banks in
the region to tighten their monetary policies. 
    As these pressures subside, the central banks look to ease
policies. Investor sentiment toward risk assets in the region
has improved ahead of a slew of central bank policy meetings
scheduled for the week.
    Philippine stocks bounced back from earlier losses to
close 1 percent higher, with gains concentrated in industrials. 
    The Philippine central bank will likely keep the interest
rate on its overnight reverse repurchase policy
steady at 4.75 percent on Thursday, while it may cut the amount
of cash that banks must hold as reserves.
    Shares of SM Investments Corp and SM Prime Holdings
Inc advanced 1.7 percent and 2 percent, respectively.
    Indonesian stocks rose 0.8 percent to a more than
two-week closing high, boosted by telecom and financial stocks.
Telekomunikasi Indonesia and Astra International Tbk 
 rose 2.4 percent each.
    Malaysian shares added 0.6 percent, buoyed by a 3
percent gain in utility Tenaga Nasional Bhd. 
    Singapore shares rose 0.4 percent after data showed
an unexpected rise in February non-oil domestic exports. 
    Singapore's exports rebounded from their biggest fall in
over two years in January, but economists say a decline in
electronics shipments shows global demand has not improved.

    DBS Group Holdings Ltd rose 0.4 percent, while
Jardine Strategic Holdings Ltd gained 0.7 percent. 
    Meanwhile, Thai stocks fell for a third straight
session on caution ahead of general elections.
    "Investors who are still not sure of the outcome of the
election are holding their investments on the sidelines and are
not so active in Thai markets now," said Teerada Charnyingyong,
an analyst with Phillip Capital Thailand. 
    CP All Pcl dropped 2 percent, while Airports of
Thailand Pcl declined 1.5 percent.
    
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SOUTHEAST ASIAN STOCK MARKETS
 Change on the day                                
 Market                 Current   Previous close  Pct Move
 Singapore              3212.96   3200.18         0.40
 Bangkok                1617.57   1625.57         -0.49
 Manila                 7873.02   7798.28         0.96
 Jakarta                6509.447  6461.183        0.75
 Kuala Lumpur           1690.94   1680.54         0.62
 Ho Chi Minh            1011.86   1004.12         0.77
                                                  
 Change so far in 2019                            
 Market                 Current   End 2018        Pct Move
 Singapore              3212.96   3068.76         4.70
 Bangkok                1617.57   1563.88         3.43
 Manila                 7873.02   7,466.02        5.45
 Jakarta                6509.447  6,194.50        5.08
 Kuala Lumpur           1690.94   1690.58         0.02
 Ho Chi Minh            1011.86   892.54          13.37
 
 (Reporting by Shreya Mariam Job in Bengaluru; Editing by
Subhranshu Sahu)
  
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