SE Asia Stocks-Mixed; eyes on U.S. Fed chief speech
March 29 (Reuters) - Southeast Asian stock markets traded mixed on Tuesday as investors turned cautious after sluggish U.S. consumer spending data and moderating inflation in February suggested the Fed may opt for caution on rate increases this year. Monday's report from the U.S. Commerce Department also showed consumer spending in January was not as strong as previously reported. That, together with other data showing a widening in the goods trade deficit in February, indicated economic growth remained sluggish in the first quarter. Federal Reserve Chair Janet Yellen will speak on U.S. economic outlook and monetary policy on Tuesday. A few other Fed policymakers are also due to speak on the same day, making the Fed's policy the biggest focus for now.. Indonesia's Jakarta Composite Index was 0.1 percent higher at 0634 GMT, recovering from a near one-month closing low hit in the previous session, while the Thai index edged up 0.1 percent. Singapore fell 0.3 percent, led by a 0.5 percent decline in Singapore Telecommunications Ltd. "We expect the local bourse to continue to range trade given the lack of fresh factors and the conviction that the economy has not seen its bottom with likely more correction to come," Singapore-based Net Research Asia said in note. The Philippine composite index was down 0.8 percent, while Malaysia rose 0.6 percent. Vietnam's benchmark VN Index fell 0.4 percent, heading for its first drop in three sessions in a technical correction, led by energy stocks as oil prices declined. For Asian Companies click; SOUTHEAST ASIAN STOCK MARKETS Change at 0631 GMT Market Current Prev Close Pct Move Singapore 2821.28 2830.29 -0.31 Kuala Lumpur 1712.75 1702.41 +0.61 Bangkok 1390.73 1389.01 +0.12 Jakarta 4776.67 4773.63 +0.06 Manila 7276.95 7334.52 -0.78 Ho Chi Minh 572.39 575.72 -0.39 (Reporting by Shihar Aneez; Editing by Biju Dwarakanath)
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