SE Asia Stocks-Singapore heads for first gain in 3 days; Philippines down
By Anusha Ravindranath May 20 (Reuters) - Singapore shares were on track to snap two sessions of falls on Friday, helped by gains in banking stocks, while the Philippine market hit its lowest level in nine days on profit-taking. The Straits Times Index was 0.8 percent higher after losing 1.3 percent in the previous session on concerns over the possibility of a Fed rate hike in June. "We believe that the higher interest rate expectation has been baked into the market," said Carey Wong, a research manager with Singapore's OCBC Investment Research. Financial stocks, the biggest constituent of the Singapore index, rose as much as 0.75 pct, with DBS Group Holdings, Southeast Asia's biggest bank by assets, gaining 1 percent. "We are starting to see a rebound in Singapore from early lows, led by banks - the usual beneficiaries of rising interest rates," Wong said. Asian shares edged higher, with MSCI's broadest index of Asia-Pacific shares outside Japan up 0.6 percent, as investors absorbed the possibility of an U.S. interest rate hike. Meanwhile, the Philippine stock index dropped as much as 1.78 percent to its lowest level since May 11, dragged down by the biggest constituent, financials. BDO Unibank Inc shed 2.1 percent, while Bank of the Philippine Islands fell 1.1 percent. Regina Capital said in a note it expects follow-up corrections on Friday to test a psychological support range of 7,400-7,360, after the Relative Strength Index (RSI) almost hit overbought levels. "We advise taking profits on issues still trading at overbought conditions as index correction will most likely drag prices lower," added Regina Capital. Indonesia traded almost flat after the government cut its growth assumption for 2017 and after the central bank slashed its growth outlook for 2016. Thai markets were closed for a public holiday. For Asian Companies click; SOUTHEAST ASIAN STOCK MARKETS STOCK MARKETS Change on day Market Current Previous Pct Move Close Singapore 2763.1 2740.11 0.84 Manila 7301.45 7427.33 -1.69 Jakarta 4708.895 4704.217 0.10 Kuala Lumpur 1634.85 1633.76 0.07 Ho Chi Minh 617.33 619.2 -0.30 Change on year Market Current End 2015 Pct Move Singapore 2763.14 2882.73 -4.15 Bangkok 1385.86 1288.02 7.60 Manila 7304.18 6952.08 5.06 Jakarta 4709.94 4593.008 2.55 Kuala Lumpur 1634.66 1692.51 -3.42 Ho Chi Minh 616.02 579.03 6.39 (Reporting By Anusha Ravindranath in Bengaluru; Editing by Subhranshu Sahu)
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