SE Asia Stocks-Fall on weak Asia, risk aversion; Singapore falls sharply
BANGKOK, Feb 10 (Reuters) - Southeast Asian stock markets fell on Wednesday, with Singapore benchmark sliding over 3 percent and stocks in Malaysia underperforming in the region, as growing concerns about the health of the global banking sector hit Asia. Singapore's key Straits Times Index fell as much as 3.2 percent before recovering some of the losses, while Kuala Lumpur composite index was down 0.8 percent, both resuming trade after a four-day weekend for the Lunar New Year holidays. Stocks in Thailand and the Philippines extended losses early in the week while Asian shares declined 0.5 percent with sentiment towards risk assets worldwide growing more bearish. Jakarta composite index, Asia's best performer so far this year, declined from a near six-month closing high hit late last week. Trading volumes were relatively thin across exchanges, led down by Malaysia and the Philippines which were under 20 percent of a full-day average over the past 30 days. Market players awaited U.S. Federal Reserve Chair Janet Yellen's semi-annual monetary policy testimony before Congress later in the day, expected to provide indicators on the interest rate outlook in the United States. "The sentiment could improve if Fed Chair Yellen gives a clearer picture on the U.S. economy and monetary policy in light of other central banks going down to negative interest rate," said broker KGI Securities in Bangkok. Financial results were also a focus in the region. In Bangkok, shares of IRPC hit a two-week high after the refiner posted a better-than-expected 2015 net profit. In Kuala Lumpur, shares of AMMB Holdings eased 0.2 percent ahead of earnings release expected in coming days. Vietnam remains closed for the Lunar New Year holiday through Friday. For Asian Companies click; SOUTHEAST ASIAN STOCK MARKETS Change at 0434 GMT Market Current Prev Close Pct Move Singapore 2568.01 2623.21 -2.10 Kuala Lumpur 1650.34 1662.46 -0.73 Bangkok 1297.18 1303.96 -0.53 Jakarta 4747.84 4768.63 -0.43 Manila 6603.95 6637.43 -0.50 (Reporting by Viparat Jantraprap; Editing by Gopakumar Warrier)
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