SE Asia Stocks-Subdued as investors await Fed rate hike signal
By Krishna V Kurup Aug 23 (Reuters) - Southeast Asian stock markets were sluggish on Tuesday, ahead of a speech by Federal Reserve Chair Janet Yellen on Friday that could offer clues about a U.S. interest rate hike this year. Dampening market sentiment further, oil fell below $49 a barrel, giving up part of August's strong rally, as signs of rising supply outweighed hopes that producing nations will agree on steps to support prices. Goldman Sachs said in a report that talk of an output freeze by the Organization of the Petroleum Exporting Countries and a weak dollar had helped drive prices up this month but neither was enough to sustain current levels. Indonesian shares closed down 0.2 percent after falling as much as 1.4 percent earlier in the day. Consumer cyclicals led the losses, with Astra International Tbk PT falling 2.4 percent. Markets were jittery as comments by Fed officials on improving economic conditions could mean another rate hike, said Taye Shim, an analyst with Daewoo Securities Indonesia. Concerns over Yellen's speech and the "series of hawkish comments (from Fed officials) gave investors the right excuse for profit-taking", Shim said, adding that "this week is going to be extremely volatile." Philippine shares ended 0.6 percent lower, dragged down by telecom stocks, with PLDT Inc, the country's biggest telecom company by market capitalisation, losing 2.4 percent. The market fell due to a mixture of profit-taking from Monday's short gain and the "risk-off mood" ahead of Yellen's speech, said Victor Felix, an analyst with Manila-based AB Capital Securities. If the speech is "dovish in tone", the market will spike next week, he added. Singapore shares closed marginally up, with telecoms leading the gains. StarHub Ltd rose 1.1 percent. Asian shares edged up with MSCI's broadest index of Asia-Pacific shares outside Japan up 0.4 percent at 0930 GMT. For Asian Companies click; SOUTHEAST ASIAN STOCK MARKETS STOCK MARKETS Change on day Market Current Prev close Pct Move Singapore 2850.43 2841.19 0.33 Bangkok 1540.06 1539.24 0.05 Manila 7935.18 7981.21 -0.58 Jakarta 5417.14 5427.175 -0.18 Kuala Lumpur 1683.07 1691.07 -0.47 Ho Chi Minh 659.16 657.68 0.23 Change on year Market Current End 2015 Pct Move Singapore 2850.43 2882.73 -1.12 Bangkok 1540.06 1288.02 19.57 Manila 7935.18 6952.08 14.14 Jakarta 5417.14 4593.008 17.94 Kuala Lumpur 1683.07 1692.51 -0.56 Ho Chi Minh 659.16 579.03 13.84 (Reporting by Krishna V Kurup in Bengaluru; Editing by Subhranshu Sahu)
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