SE Asia Stocks-Rise as Fed minutes boost confidence
By Justin George Varghese Aug 18 (Reuters) - Most Southeast Asian stock markets rose on Thursday as risk-taking appetite improved after minutes of the U.S. Federal Reserve's July meeting showed policymakers were in no hurry to raise interest rates. Fed policymakers agree that more economic data is needed before raising rates, although some see a need to tighten policy soon, the minutes showed. MSCI's broadest index of Asia-Pacific shares outside Japan rose 0.6 percent, as investors added to positions after a 14 percent rise over the last two months. Indonesian shares rose more than 1 percent and led gains in Southeast Asia, with consumer and financial stocks accounting for more than half the rise. PT Hanjaya Mandala Sampoerna Tbk and PT Astra International Tbk were among the top percentage gainers. Thai shares rose over 1 percent and were headed for their first rise in four sessions, driven by industrials. Philippine shares eked out small gains after data showed second-quarter annual economic growth picked up to 7.0 percent from 6.8 percent in January-March. Singapore shares were up after five straight sessions of losses, led by consumer goods and services. Bucking the trend, Vietnam and Malaysia traded lower. For Asian Companies click; SOUTHEAST ASIAN STOCK MARKETS STOCK MARKETS Change on 4:40 GMT Market Current Prev. close Pct Move Singapore 2845.06 2843.35 0.06 Bangkok 1547.65 1531.63 1.05 Manila 7948.77 7946.19 0.03 Jakarta 5442.716 5371.846 1.32 Kuala Lumpur 1693.4 1694.32 -0.05 Ho Chi Minh 659.67 660.51 -0.13 Change this year Market Current End prev yr Pct Move Singapore 2845.06 2882.73 -1.31 Bangkok 1547.65 1288.02 20.16 Manila 7948.77 6952.08 14.34 Jakarta 5442.716 4593.008 18.50 Kuala Lumpur 1693.4 1692.51 0.05 Ho Chi Minh 659.67 579.03 13.93 (Reporting by Justin George Varghese in Bengaluru; Editing by Subhranshu Sahu)
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