SE Asia Stocks -Indonesia edges up before rate decision
BANGKOK, March 17 (Reuters) - Indonesian shares eked out small gains on Tuesday, helped by selective buying in banking and consumer stocks ahead of the central bank's decision on interest rates, while other markets in Southeast Asia rose along with Asia and U.S. stocks overnight. Jakarta's composite index was up 0.03 percent at 5,436.83 with companies, including retailer Matahari Putra Prima and Bank Central Asia, actively traded. Indonesia's central bank is expected to hold rates steady on Tuesday to aid the rupiah, the worst-performing Asian currency so far this year. The rate decision is due after 0600 GMT. "On the back of weak Indonesian rupiah, we expect Bank Indonesia to maintain its policy rate at 7.50 percent," said Harry Su, head of research at broker Bahana Securities in Jakarta. Singapore's Straits Times Index was up 0.4 percent, hovering around a one-week high, led by shares of DBS Group Holdings and SingTel. Shares in Thailand rebounded from Monday's more than two-month low closing level which sent the index's 14-day Relative Strength Index (RSI) to 31.8, near an oversold territory of 30 or lower. The SET index's valuation has become more attractive with a decline in forward earnings multiple of 16.5 times, which is close to regional average of 15.5 times, strategists at broker Krungsri Securities wrote in a report. "A rebound will provide a trading opportunity for short-term speculators. However, we believe global markets will continue to fluctuate in the medium term due to concern over a Fed rate hike," they said. Stocks in Malaysia, the Philippines and Vietnam all recovered after two sessions of losses. MSCI's broadest index of Asia-Pacific shares outside Japan was up 0.8 percent, after all three major U.S. stock indexes posted gains of over 1 percent on Monday. Investors positioned for the possibility that weaker-than-expected U.S. data will prompt the Federal Reserve to leave its options open this week on the timing of a future rate hike. For Asian Companies click; For South East Asia Hot Stock reports, click; SOUTHEAST ASIAN STOCK MARKETS Change at 0543 GMT Market Current Prev Close Pct Move Singapore 3388.34 3376.04 +0.37 Kuala Lumpur 1785.29 1780.54 +0.27 Bangkok 1518.86 1515.57 +0.22 Jakarta 5436.83 5435.27 +0.03 Manila 7765.20 7730.95 +0.44 Ho Chi Minh 583.10 580.80 +0.40 (Reporting by Viparat Jantraprap; Editing by Subhranshu Sahu)
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