SE Asia Stocks-Fed rate hike expectations hit sentiment
By Anusha Ravindranath May 18 (Reuters) - Southeast Asian stocks were lower or little changed at the close of trade on Wednesday, in line with Asian shares, after some U.S. Fed officials flagged prospects of a rate increase, leaving the door open to a change in monetary policy relatively soon. A U.S. Federal Reserve policymaker said on Tuesday that he will push for an interest rate hike in June or July and two others still see up to three rate increases this year. Asian markets fell as the assumed shift towards more tightening by the Fed came as bad news for stock markets. The MSCI's broadest index of Asia-Pacific shares outside Japan lost 1.1 percent. Singapore's Straits Times Index closed slightly lower as consumer services lost ground. Jardine Cycle & Carriage Ltd dropped 1.6 percent, while Genting Singapore PLC fell 1.3 percent. The index has fallen 3.5 percent this year as of Tuesday's close. The Thai index snapped a 2-day rally, dragged down by banks. Siam Commercial Bank, Thailand's third-largest lender, lost 1.6 percent. Vietnam stocks ended 0.4 percent lower, after hitting a near 10-month closing high in the previous session. Indonesia closed marginally higher, recovering from 3 days of losses, with energy stocks gaining as oil futures traded near 2016 highs on Wednesday. Fuel distributor PT AKR Corporindo Tbk was up 4.7 percent. For Asian Companies click; SOUTHEAST ASIAN STOCK MARKETS STOCK MARKETS Change on the day Market Current previous Pct Move close Singapore 2777.11 2781.11 -0.14 Bangkok 1400.5 1406.57 -0.43 Manila 7534.3 7524.84 0.13 Jakarta 4734.357 4729.156 0.11 Kuala Lumpur 1635.72 1633.39 0.14 Ho Chi Minh 622.45 624.75 -0.37 Change so far this year Market Current End prev yr Pct Move Singapore 2777.11 2882.73 -3.66 Bangkok 1400.5 1288.02 8.73 Manila 7534.3 6952.08 8.37 Jakarta 4734.357 4593.008 3.08 Kuala Lumpur 1635.72 1692.51 -3.36 Ho Chi Minh 622.45 579.03 7.50 (Reporting by Anusha Ravindranath in Bengaluru; Additional reporting by Fransiska Nangoy; Editing by Biju Dwarakanath)
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