SE Asia Stocks-Down on U.S. Fed rate hike concerns
BANGKOK, March 20 (Reuters) - Southeast Asian stock markets fell on Thursday as concerns about a sooner-than-expected rise in U.S. interest rates triggered selling across the region. Jakarta's Composite Index fell 2.5 percent, trimming its year-to-date gain in U.S. dollar terms to 18.5 percent, but still retaining its position as Asia's second-best performer so far this year. Profit-taking hit large-caps, with the biggest losers including shares of Bank Danamon Indonesia and property firm Pakuwn Jati. The Thai SET index was down 0.8 percent at midday, extending losses from the past two days due to selling by domestic investors. The market saw foreign inflows this week after the lifting of an emergency decree. "Given the tight valuations and domestic uncertainty, SET may trade sideways down," strategists at broker KGI Securities wrote in a report. Stocks in Singapore, Malaysia and the Philippines were all stuck in negative territory after a drop in U.S. stocks overnight. U.S. stocks fell on Wednesday after comments from Federal Reserve Chair Janet Yellen raised the possibility of an earlier- than-anticipated increase in interest rates. For Asian Companies click; For South East Asia Hot Stock reports, click; SOUTHEAST ASIAN STOCK MARKETS Change at 0657 GMT Market Current Prev Close Pct Move TR SE Asia Index* 399.25 405.92 -1.64 Singapore 3060.14 3080.75 -0.67 Kuala Lumpur 1813.98 1817.44 -0.19 Bangkok 1354.10 1364.27 -0.75 Jakarta 4703.41 4821.46 -2.45 Manila 6411.51 6462.49 -0.79 Ho Chi Minh 601.23 605.59 -0.72 * The Thomson Reuters South East Asia Index is a highly representative indicator of stocks listed in Indonesia, Malaysia, the Philippines, Singapore, Thailand and Vietnam. (Reporting by Viparat Jantraprap; Editing by Sunil Nair)
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