SE Asia Stocks-Fall on U.S. rate hike concerns; Philippines worst hit
By Bhumika Sahani May 19 (Reuters) - Southeast Asian stocks traded lower on Thursday on broader weakness in Asia as minutes from the U.S. Federal Reserve's April policy meeting rekindled the possibility of a rate hike in June. MSCI's broadest index of Asia-Pacific shares outside Japan fell over 1 percent to its lowest since March 3 as the prospect of a second U.S. rate hike in six months raised concerns for emerging markets already grappling with a slowing China. Philippine stocks led the falls in Southeast Asia and were headed for their first loss in five sessions, shrugging off strong quarterly GDP growth data released earlier in the day. Financial stocks took a hit, with Bank of the Philippine Islands down 1.1 percent as of 0459 GMT, while Metropolitan Bank and Trust Co fell 2.3 percent. Notwithstanding the Fed-driven selloff, analysts said the Philippine market had the potential to outperform. "The Philippines is strategically a good medium-term opportunity. They are expensive but they are growing quickly," said Sean Taylor, chief investment officer, Asia Pacific, Deutsche Asset Management. "The Philippines is Deutsche's most convincing overweight position among frontier market holdings." Singapore's Straits Times index was headed for its second session of falls, while Indonesia hit a near three-month low, with Bank Negara Indonesia (Persero) Tbk PT and Ciputra Development Tbk PT shedding 1.1 percent and 0.8 percent, respectively. For Asian Companies click ; STOCK MARKETS Change on day Market Current Previous Pct Move Close Singapore 2749.67 2777.11 -0.99 Bangkok 1392.44 1400.5 -0.58 Manila 7450.25 7534.3 -1.12 Jakarta 4700.815 4734.357 -0.71 Kuala Lumpur 1634.58 1635.72 -0.07 Ho Chi Minh 620.75 622.45 -0.27 Change on year Market Current End 2015 Pct Move Singapore 2750.55 2882.73 -4.59 Bangkok 1391.7 1288.02 8.05 Manila 7450.25 6952.08 7.17 Jakarta 4700.815 4593.008 2.35 Kuala Lumpur 1634.58 1692.51 -3.42 Ho Chi Minh 620.75 579.03 7.21 (Reporting by Bhumika Sahani; Editing by Subhranshu Sahu)
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