SE Asia Stocks-Indonesia up slightly; cbank holds key rate as expected
BANGKOK, March 17 (Reuters) - Indonesian stocks posted modest gains on Tuesday after the central bank kept its benchmark rate steady as expected, while most others in Southeast Asia ended higher as investors awaited U.S. Federal Reserve meeting for interest rate direction. Jakarta composite index closed up 0.07 percent after a rangebound session. Foreign inflows lifted selected stocks such as Astra International and Semen Indonesia , seen among beneficiaries of domestic spending. Indonesia's central bank, which last month surprisingly cut its benchmark rate, held it steady at 7.50 percent on Tuesday, saying the level of the rate is consistent with efforts to contain inflation and the current account deficit. Stocks in Malaysia, the Philippines and Vietnam snapped two days of falls, with banks such as Public Bank and BDO Unibank leading among gainers. Singapore shares reversed early gains and fell 0.2 percent while Thai shares eased 0.2 percent, extending their slides for a third trading day to the lowest close since Jan. 7. Fed policymakers will kick off their two-day meeting on Tuesday, and many analysts expected them to remove the "patient" reference to rate rises from their policy statement. For Asian Companies click; For South East Asia Hot Stock reports, click; SOUTHEAST ASIAN STOCK MARKETS Change on day Market Current Prev Close Pct Move Singapore 3369.95 3376.04 -0.18 Kuala Lumpur 1787.87 1780.54 +0.41 Bangkok 1512.84 1515.57 -0.18 Jakarta 5439.15 5435.27 +0.07 Manila 7789.10 7730.95 +0.75 Ho Chi Minh 581.76 580.80 +0.17 Change on year Market Current End 2014 Pct Move Singapore 3369.95 3365.15 +0.14 Kuala Lumpur 1787.87 1761.25 +1.51 Bangkok 1512.84 1497.67 +1.01 Jakarta 5439.15 5226.95 +4.06 Manila 7789.10 7230.57 +7.72 Ho Chi Minh 581.76 545.63 +6.62 (Reporting by Viparat Jantraprap; Editing by Anand Basu)
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