SE Asia Stocks-Gain as ECB decision lifts sentiment
Oct 23 (Reuters) - Southeast Asian stock markets ended higher on Friday, with most indexes marking their highest close in two months, driven by the European Central Bank's (ECB) signal on further stimulus. Indonesia's Jakarta Composite Index rose 1.5 percent to its highest close since Aug. 10, led by financials such as Bank Rakyat Indonesia and Bank Mandiri, which gained 4.7 percent and 2.5 percent respectively. The ECB held policy steady at its meeting on Thursday, as was widely expected, and later president Mario Draghi told a news conference that ECB policymakers were "open to the full menu of monetary policy" to stoke the euro zone economy as needed. "Investors read this as a possible sign monetary authorities are still concerned with overall economic sluggishness and that the FOMC will confirm next week, after its scheduled meeting, of a further delay in its planned interest rate-hike," Singapore-based Net Research Asia said in a note. It said gains on Wall Street also helped support regional markets, but the rally in stock prices will be capped due to uncertainty over corporate earnings and economic sluggishness. Singapore traded up 1 percent to a more-than-two-month high while the Philippines jumped 1.7 percent, also a two-month peak. Vietnam's benchmark VN Index rallied 1.1 percent to its highest level since Aug. 12 in robust trade, with banks and property firms leading the gainers. The Thai market was closed for a holiday. For Asian Companies click; SOUTHEAST ASIAN STOCK MARKETS Change on the day Market Current Prev Close Pct Move Singapore 3068.46 3038.11 +1.00 Kuala Lumpur 1710.93 1705.09 +0.34 Jakarta 4653.15 4584.56 +1.50 Manila 7236.38 7117.78 +1.67 Ho Chi Minh 601.74 595.08 +1.12 Change on year Market Current End 2014 Pct Move Singapore 3068.46 3365.15 -8.82 Kuala Lumpur 1710.93 1761.25 -2.86 Bangkok 1416.14 1497.67 -5.44 Jakarta 4653.15 5226.95 -10.98 Manila 7236.38 7230.57 +0.08 Ho Chi Minh 601.74 545.63 +10.28 (Reporting by Shihar Aneez; Editing by Sunil Nair)
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