SE Asia Stocks-Rise on lower Fed rate guidance; Indonesia up ahead of rate decision
BANGKOK, March 17 (Reuters) - Southeast Asian stock markets rose on Thursday as Asia and regional currencies climbed after the U.S. Federal Reserve reduced the number of expected interest rate hikes this year, lending support to broader risk sentiment. Indonesia rose 0.5 percent, trimming most early gains and ending the day at the highest close since July 23, 2015. Bank Central Asia, the most actively traded stock, rose 0.9 percent on foreign-led buying. Investors awaited Indonesia's central bank interest rate decision expected after market close, with a slim majority in a Reuters poll predicting a cut in its benchmark interest rate. Outperformers in the region were shares in the Philippines notching up about 2 percent gain. The index posted its biggest percentage gain since March 2. Foreign investors bought shares worth a net 968 million peso ($20.9 million), stock exchange data showed. Singapore advanced 1.3 percent to its highest close since Dec. 31. Malaysia hit the highest close since Oct. 26, with the ringgit rising in line with other Asian currencies as the Fed's cautious outlook deflated the dollar. Stocks in Vietnam ended at the highest close since Dec. 30, while Thai stocks were up 0.44 percent at 0921 GMT. For Asian Companies click; SOUTHEAST ASIAN STOCK MARKETS Change on the day Market Current previous close Pct Move Singapore 2880.17 2844.21 1.26 Bangkok (0922 GMT) 1383.93 1377.8 0.44 Manila 7210.9 7065.39 2.06 Jakarta 4885.688 4861.441 0.50 Kuala Lumpur 1703.19 1693.43 0.58 Ho Chi Minh 579.26 577.07 0.38 Change so far this year Market Current End prev yr Pct Move Singapore 2880.17 2882.73 -0.09 Bangkok 1383.93 1288.02 7.45 Manila 7210.9 6952.08 3.72 Jakarta 4885.688 4593.008 6.37 Kuala Lumpur 1703.19 1692.51 0.63 Ho Chi Minh 579.26 579.03 0.04 ($1 = 46.3450 Philippine pesos) (Reporting by Viparat Jantraprap; Editing by Anand Basu)
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