SE Asia Stocks - Fall on renewed U.S. rate hike concerns
BANGKOK, May 27 (Reuters) - Southeast Asian stock markets tumbled on Wednesday as investors resumed selling on expectations of an interest rate hike in the U.S. sooner rather than later, derailing Philippine stocks and sending the Malaysian benchmark to a more-than-four-month low. The Philippine main index was an underperformer, trading down 1.3 percent at its lowest since Feb. 2. The fall trimmed a year-to-date gain in Southeast Asia's best performing index to 5.5 percent. Malaysia's composite index fell 0.7 percent to the lowest since Jan. 20, heading for a fifth day of losses. Indexes in Singapore and Indonesia, which have gradually rebounded, pulled lower. Thailand's index eased 0.2 percent, extending the weakness over the past three days. "Negative sentiment on SET prevails on Wednesday, given renewed concern on the timing of a U.S. interest rate increase," strategists at broker KGI Securities wrote in a report. Asian stocks fell in line with U.S. stocks after reports on Tuesday showed U.S. business investment spending plans increased solidly in April, consumer confidence perked up this month and house prices extended gains in March. Weak quarterly earnings of large-caps in Southeast Asia have kept investors in the region uneasy. Shares of Malaysia's palm oil firm Felda Global Ventures Holdings hit a record low after its first-quarter profit slumped 97.5 percent on weaker plantation business and bigger losses in the downstream segment. The Thai banking subindex was down 0.3 percent as recent moves to cut interest rates dented earnings outlook. It had fallen nearly 13 percent so far this year, partly reflecting the weak earnings in the first quarter. For Asian Companies click; SOUTHEAST ASIAN STOCK MARKETS Change at 0549 GMT Market Current Prev Close Pct Move Singapore 3418.94 3459.98 -1.19 Kuala Lumpur 1751.64 1764.07 -0.70 Bangkok 1495.08 1497.98 -0.19 Jakarta 5278.30 5320.90 -0.80 Manila 7587.53 7728.50 -1.82 Ho Chi Minh 566.69 567.20 -0.09 (Reporting by Viparat Jantraprap; Editing by Sunil Nair)
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