February 23, 2018 / 4:19 AM / 10 months ago

SE Asia Stocks-Up as U.S. rate hike worries abate; Singapore rises 1 pct

    * Singapore hits 3-wk high, set for best week since early
    * Indonesia gains 1 pct
    * Philippine index down, on track to end week about 1.4 pct

    By Chris Thomas
    Feb 23 (Reuters) - Most Southeast Asian stock markets rose
on Friday as investors responded with cheer after two Federal
Reserve officials allayed concerns that the U.S. central bank
would intensify the pace of interest rate hikes this year.
    St. Louis Fed President James Bullard said Thursday that
policymakers need to be careful not to increase rates too
quickly as that could slow the economy, while Dallas counterpart
Robert Kaplan said three rate increases in 2018 was a
"reasonable" base case.
    Two of the major indexes on Wall Street firmed overnight,
following a downbeat performance the previous day after minutes
of the Fed's last policy meeting showed inflation would perk up,
setting the stage for additional rate hikes.
    Asia shares ex-Japan climbed over 1 percent.

    In Southeast Asia, Singapore shares rose as much as
1.1 percent to a three-week top ahead of the release of
inflation data.
    Financials accounted for most of the gains on the index,
with Oversea-Chinese Banking Corp climbing 2.1 percent
to an all-time high. 
    The index is on track for its best week since early January.
    Indonesia snapped three sessions of losses to rise
as much as 1 percent, with Bank Central Asia up as
much as 2.4 percent and conglomerate Astra International
 gaining 3.1 percent.
    An index of the country's 45 most liquid stocks
rose as much as 1.1 percent. 
    Firmer oil prices have also contributed to the brighter
outlook for regional markets, said Taye Shim, head of research
at Mirae Asset Sekuritas.
    "It is a commodities driven story and Indonesia is one of
the key beneficiaries of commodity price recovery, which we
believe is likely to continue as long as the dollar maintains
its course."
    Thai shares were up as much as 0.4 percent, led by
banks, telecom and materials stocks. 
    The Philippine index, however, fell as much as 0.6
percent, and is set to finish the week about 1.4 percent lower.
For Asian Companies click;  

 Change on day                               
 Market             Current  Previous close  Pct Move
 Singapore          3523.57  3488.46         1.01
 Bangkok            1795.48  1788.63         0.38
 Manila             8491.4   8515.57         -0.28
 Jakarta            6652.68  6593.06         0.90
 Kuala Lumpur       1858.81  1855.07         0.20
 Ho Chi Minh        1083.31  1076.03         0.68
 Change on year                              
 Market             Current  End 2017        Pct Move
 Singapore          3523.57  3402.92         3.55
 Bangkok            1795.48  1753.71         2.38
 Manila             8491.4   8558.42         -0.78
 Jakarta            6652.68  6355.654        4.67
 Kuala Lumpur       1858.81  1796.81         3.45
 Ho Chi Minh        1083.31  984.24          10.07

 (Reporting by Chris Thomas in Bengaluru; Editing by Biju
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