SE Asia Stocks-Philippine, Indonesian shares lead regional gains after Fed rate hike
BANGKOK, Dec 17 (Reuters) - Most Southeast Asian stock markets gained on Thursday after the U.S. Federal Reserve raised interest rates as expected, with the Philippine key stock index rising nearly two percent and the Indonesian benchmark hitting a near two-week high. The Philippines' key index rose 1.9 percent while the Jakarta composite index gained 1.2 percent, both hovering at their highest levels since Dec. 7. Share price weakness in Southeast Asia this year in the wake of fund outflows has mostly reflected the rate hike fears, according to brokers. "Markets have predictably declined heading into the first Fed hike. This, however, presents an opportunity as we expect Fed-related risks to subside thereafter," said broker Nomura Securities in a report. "A combination of easing China risks and some domestic catalysts makes for a good opportunity to increase our risk exposure in ASEAN," Nomura said. Nomura upgraded Indonesia to "overweight", the same as the Philippines and Singapore. It remained "underweight" on Malaysia and Thailand. The Thai SET index rose marginally while telecoms shares such as Total Access Communication came under selling pressure on concerns the high bidding prices of 4G spectrum licences would hurt earnings. The Fed hiked interest rates for the first time in nearly a decade on Wednesday, signalling faith that the U.S. economy had largely overcome the wounds of the 2007-2009 financial crisis. The gains in Southeast Asia were in line with a rally on Wall Street overnight and in early Asian stock markets as investors chose to take the historic hike in U.S. interest rates as a mark of confidence in the world's largest economy. For Asian Companies click; SOUTHEAST ASIAN STOCK MARKETS Change at 0306 GMT Market Current Prev Close Pct Move Singapore 2847.16 2840.92 +0.23 Kuala Lumpur 1646.33 1634.13 +0.75 Bangkok 1301.35 1299.12 +0.17 Jakarta 4536.36 4483.45 +1.18 Manila 6937.35 6807.72 +1.90 Ho Chi Minh 577.25 572.55 +0.82 (Reporting by Viparat Jantraprap; Editing by Anupama Dwivedi)
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