SE Asia Stocks-Retreat after BOJ holds steady, Philippines up on telecoms
BANGKOK, March 15 (Reuters) - Most Southeast Asian stock markets fell on Tuesday, in line with Asia, taking a breather after recent rallies, as the Bank of Japan kept monetary policy steady as expected. Investors also awaited U.S. Federal Reserve meeting for clues on interest rate directions. Singapore's Straits Times Index fell 0.22 percent, with energy-related stocks among losers as oil prices declined on oversupply concerns. Shares of Sembcorp Industries Ltd dropped 1.6 percent, among top percentage decliners. Indonesia's Jakarta composite index slipped 0.6 percent, after closing at its highest level in near eight months in the previous session ahead of the central bank meeting on Thursday. The Thai key SET index ended a two-day winning streak, while stocks in Malaysia and Vietnam drifted lower after three successive days of gains. "Even though the Federal Reserve appears to be in no hurry to pull the trigger on its next rate hike at this meeting, its clues on future rate hikes throughout the year however seem to be in the focus of the market," said Bangkok-based broker Phillip Securities in a report. Energy shares underperformed on MSCI's index of Southeast Asia, led by Thailand's PTT Global Chemical and Indonesia's Adaro Energy both down about 3 percent. Bucking the trend, the Philippines' index climbed 1.2 percent, boosted by a rally in shares of Philippine Long Distance Telephone Co (PLDT) and Globe Telecom Inc after San Miguel Corp and Telstra Corp ended joint venture negotiations. For Asian Companies click; SOUTHEAST ASIAN STOCK MARKETS Change at 0525 GMT Market Current Previous close Pct Move Singapore 2840.9 2847.06 -0.22 Bangkok 1388.66 1394.27 -0.40 Manila 7195 7112.89 1.15 Jakarta 4849.224 4877.531 -0.58 Kuala Lumpur 1694.16 1700.31 -0.36 Ho Chi Minh 575.82 577.98 -0.37 (Reporting by Viparat Jantraprap; Editing by Anand Basu)
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