SE Asia Stocks -Indonesia leads regional gain amid Fed rate speculation
BANGKOK, Sept 17 (Reuters) - Southeast Asian stock markets rose cautiously on Wednesday amid speculation the U.S. Federal Reserve would maintain low interest rates, with inflows lifting select Indonesian shares such as Telkom Indonesia, taking the index to a more-than one-week high. The Fed began its two-day policy meeting on Tuesday. U.S. stocks ended strongly overnight with participants citing a report in the Wall Street Journal as indicating the Fed could be less hawkish than markets have been expecting. Indonesia was an outperformer. Jakarta's benchmark composite index climbed 1.3 percent to 5,194.76, the highest since Sept. 9. Telkom Indonesia shares jumped 2 percent, with net foreign buying at about 64 billion rupiah ($5.36 million) at midday. Indofood Sukses Makmur gained 1.1 percent with net foreign buying of 4.8 billion rupiah ($402,010). Brokers in the region said near-term risks remain and market gains could be short lived. "As a country, Indonesia needs to prepare for the Fed rate hike because a short-term reprieve would just be delaying the inevitable in the end," said Harry Su, head of research at broker Bahana Securities in Jakarta. "Obviously, Fed rate hike and the government's planned fuel price hike would be negative for interest rate sensitive sectors like banks, property and automotive while defensive sectors like telcos and consumer have the tendency to perform better," he said. Singapore's Straits Times Index was up 0.54 percent, rebounding from a more than two-month closing low hit on the previous day. Stocks in Thailand and Vietnam were a tad higher while Philippine shares rose for a second day. Singapore-based broker NetResearch Asia said in a report it expects sentiment in Asia could turn again if a statement from the Fed, expected later on Wednesday, runs contrary to market hopes that rates could stay low for a 'considerable long time'. In Bangkok, interest rate sensitive stocks were mixed on expectations that Thailand's central bank would leave its main interest rate steady at 2 percent later in the day. Shares of Bangkok Bank jumped 2.4 percent and Kasikornbank gained 1.3 percent. Property developer Land & Houses fell nearly 2 percent and Pruksa Real Estate was down 1.5 percent. For Asian Companies click; For South East Asia Hot Stock reports, click; SOUTHEAST ASIAN STOCK MARKETS Change at 0554 GMT Market Current Prev Close Pct Move Singapore 3288.68 3272.62 +0.49 Kuala Lumpur 1843.62 1847.30 -0.20 Bangkok 1569.57 1565.41 +0.27 Jakarta 5194.76 5130.50 +1.25 Manila 7223.42 7180.34 +0.60 Ho Chi Minh 628.48 627.66 +0.13 (1 US dollar = 11,940.0000 rupiah) (Reporting by Viparat Jantraprap; Editing by Anupama Dwivedi)
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