SE Asia Stocks-Singapore, Philippines lead region lower as Fed gains fade
By Nichola Saminather March 31 (Reuters) - Singapore led declines across southeast Asian stock markets on Thursday, as the boost from a U.S. Federal Reserve statement this week scaling back expectations for interest rate hikes faded. Singapore's Straits Time Index slid 1 percent, on track for a quarterly loss of 1.3 percent. The Philippines lost 0.8 percent and Malaysia 0.2 percent, shrinking gains for the quarter to 4.2 percent and 1.4 percent respectively. Thailand's SET slipped 0.2 percent. However, the index is on track for a quarterly jump of 9.2 percent. U.S. Federal Reserve Chair Janet Yellen on Tuesday emphasised the need to proceed "cautiously" on tightening policy, pushing back on a handful of her colleagues who have suggested another move may be just around the corner. . Southeast Asian markets, which rose strongly on Wednesday on the back of those comments, are now surrendering those gains. "Yesterday's Yellen gains were temporary," said Mixo Das, ASEAN equity strategist at Nomura in Singapore. "Market pricing of Fed hikes is already very dovish -- not much room for it to move further lower." The Jakarta Composite index was little changed, but is set for a 4.8 percent quarterly gain. Vietnam, which fell in early trade, recovered to trade up 0.2 percent, narrowing losses for the quarter to 1.4 percent. For Asian Companies click: SOUTHEAST ASIAN STOCK MARKETS STOCK MARKETS Change on the day Market Current Prev close Pct Move Singapore 2845.26 2872.78 -0.96 Bangkok 1407.56 1410.29 -0.19 Manila 7365.7 7299.23 0.91 Jakarta 4812.796 4816.655 -0.08 Kuala Lumpur 1714.75 1717.82 -0.18 Ho Chi Minh 569.44 569.91 -0.08 Change so far this year Market Current End prev Pct Move yr Singapore 2845.26 2882.73 -1.30 Bangkok 1407.56 1288.02 9.28 Manila 7365.7 6952.08 5.95 Jakarta 4812.796 4593.008 4.79 Kuala Lumpur 1714.75 1692.51 1.31 Ho Chi Minh 569.44 579.03 -1.66 (Reporting by Nichola Saminather; Editing by Anand Basu)
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