SE Asia Stocks-Largely down ahead of US retail sales data
By Justin George Varghese Aug 12 (Reuters) - Most Southeast Asian stock markets closed lower on Friday on concerns about a slowing Chinese economy and as investors awaited a host of U.S. data, notably retail sales, for latest cues about the world's largest economy. China's industrial output and retail sales in July rose less than expected, while growth in fixed asset investment in the January-July period missed forecasts and slipped to the lowest year-to-date rate in more than 16 years. Chinese data suggests investors may take the opportunity to sell on shakier outlook, but there will be some bargain-hunting, said Mixo Das, a Southeast Asian equity strategist with Nomura, citing Wall Street's record highs overnight and gains in wider Asia. Investors will sift through U.S. retail sales data, due later in the day, for clues about whether the economy is robust enough to withstand further monetary tightening. U.S. retail sales are expected to show a 0.4 percent monthly increase in July, according to the median estimate of 64 economists polled by Reuters. The U.S. Federal Reserve is likely to raise interest rates in December, after the Nov. 8 presidential election, according to a Reuters poll. Meanwhile, the Bank of England would chop interest rates again in November, another Reuters poll predicted. Trading was also slow with many market participants in Japan on leave this week for the summer holidays. Indonesian shares led the losses in the region and closed 0.8 percent lower, with financials accounting for more than half of the fall. For the week, they declined 0.8 percent, their first in six. Malaysian stocks rose 0.4 percent, led by telecom stocks Axiata Group Ltd and Maxis Bhd, adding 1.2 percent for the week. Singapore shares posted their second straight fall, dragged down by telecomms and industrials. Vietnam closed 0.7 percent lower after early gains, while Philippine stocks fell for a third consecutive session, dragged down by financials. Thai stock markets were closed on Friday for a holiday. For Asian Companies click; SOUTHEAST ASIAN STOCK MARKETS STOCK MARKETS Change on the day Market Current previous close Pct Move Singapore 2867.4 2869.82 -0.08 Bangkok -- 1552.64 -- Manila 7955.86 7981.35 -0.32 Jakarta 5377.196 5419.088 -0.77 Kuala Lumpur 1684.15 1678.8 0.32 Ho Chi Minh 655.71 660.24 -0.69 Change so far this year Market Current End prev yr Pct Move Singapore 2867.4 2882.73 -0.53 Bangkok 1552.64 1288.02 20.54 Manila 7955.86 6952.08 14.44 Jakarta 5377.196 4593.008 17.07 Kuala Lumpur 1684.15 1692.51 -0.49 Ho Chi Minh 655.71 579.03 13.24 (Reporting by Justin George Varghese in Bengaluru; Editing by Subhranshu Sahu)
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