SE Asia Stocks-Mostly up after Yellen's speech; Singapore outperforms
March 30 (Reuters) - Most Southeast Asian stock markets rose on Wednesday, led by financials after U.S. Federal Reserve Chair Janet Yellen's speech gave some cues about the pace of future interest rate hikes and calmed down investor sentiment. Yellen on Tuesday emphasised global dangers to growth and inflation, and thus the need to proceed "cautiously" on tightening policy. Her speech scaled back expectations for how fast and how far U.S. interest rates might rise this year, pushing back on a handful of her colleagues who have suggested another move may be just around the corner. Singapore's Straits Time Index was up 1.4 percent by 0540 GMT, led by financials, while the Jakarta Composite Index had added 0.6 percent. The Philippine index rose 0.5 percent, while Malaysia traded 0.2 percent higher. "Yellen's cautious tone on Fed fund rate rising pace helped to spur the regional market sentiment," said Teerada Charnyingyong, an analyst with Phillip Capital in Bangkok. Thailand was 1.1 percent higher at 1,408.67, led by financials. "Despite quite bullish sentiment, we expect to see a limited upside around 1,410-1,420 after the index trades with not so cheap 2016 forward P/E above 15x," Charnyingyong said. "So, short-term profit taking may emerge anytime along the way." Analysts said investors are also waiting for other economic data due out this week, including China's manufacturing PMI data on Thursday and the U.S. non-farm payrolls and unemployment data on Friday. Bucking the trend, Vietnam's benchmark VN Index was down 0.1 percent after posting its biggest fall in two months in the previous session, amid lack of triggers. For Asian Companies click; SOUTHEAST ASIAN STOCK MARKETS Change at 0539 GMT Market Current Prev Close Pct Move Singapore 2858.76 2819.08 +1.36 Kuala Lumpur 1718.78 1715.04 +0.22 Bangkok 1408.67 1392.85 +1.14 Jakarta 4809.00 4781.30 +0.58 Manila 7313.74 7274.40 +0.54 Ho Chi Minh 567.96 568.28 -0.06 (Reporting by Shihar Aneez; Editing by Subhranshu Sahu)
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