SE Asia Stocks-Rise as focus shifts to Fed, key cenbank meetings
BANGKOK, March 14 (Reuters) - Southeast Asian stock markets rose on Monday, led by Singapore and the Philippines, as investors added risk positions on expectations the U.S. Federal Reserve may not consider an interest rate hike at a meeting this week. Singapore's key Straits Times Index traded up about 1 percent at its highest since Jan. 4. The Philippine composite index climbed 1.3 percent to a more-than-4-month high, extending its winning spell from the previous week. The Thai SET index rose 0.8 percent, breaching the key 1,400 level for the first time since Nov. 9. The index is poised for a limited upside near term, brokers said, with its 14-day relative strength index (RSI) near 70, just shy of the overbought level. Strategists at broker Krungsri Securities expect the SET to move sideways along with regional equities, with the outcome of the Bank of Japan and Fed meeting later in the week being key indicators to fund flows. "Despite the general sell call, if the Fed keeps rate unchanged, a delay in the rate hike will be a key positive factor for global bourse in the medium term," they wrote in a report. In Jakarta, shares were up almost 1 percent, extending Friday's advance and ahead of the Indonesian central bank's monetary policy meeting on Thursday. Gains in Malaysia and Vietnam were relatively modest while shares in Asia rose about 1 percent, beginning a central bank-focused week on a firm footing and following a strong close of stocks in the Unites States on Friday. Energy and dividend-yielding stocks were among the top gainers on MSCI's index of Southeast Asia, led by a 12 percent surge in Philippine Long Distance Telephone Company and a 4.2 percent jump in Thai PTT Global Chemical. For Asian Companies click; SOUTHEAST ASIAN STOCK MARKETS Change at 0445 GMT Market Current Prev Close Pct Move Singapore 2855.14 2828.86 +0.93 Kuala Lumpur 1700.57 1696.54 +0.24 Bangkok 1403.85 1393.41 +0.75 Jakarta 4860.99 4813.77 +0.98 Manila 7193.70 7098.64 +1.34 Ho Chi Minh 578.42 577.26 +0.20 (Reporting by Viparat Jantraprap; Editing by Sunil Nair)
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