SE Asia Stocks-Lacklustre ahead of Yellen speech
By Krishna V Kurup Aug 25 (Reuters) - Southeast Asian stock markets were lacklustre on Thursday after an overnight drop on Wall Street, while the dollar rose ahead of a speech by Federal Reserve Chair Janet Yellen at a global central bankers' meeting. Market expectations have increased that Yellen might indicate a clearer time frame for the next U.S. rate hike after strong housing data this week and hawkish comments by other Fed officials, but many analysts expect her to strike a more neutral stance. Indonesian stocks rose 0.5 percent and were headed for their first gain in three sessions, led by consumer cyclicals and utilities. The Jakarta Composite Index had gained 17.7 percent this year as of Wednesday's close, boosted by President Joko Widodo's economic reforms, though investors worry about buying more of a market hitting historic peaks. Trimegah Securities said in a note that it expected mild correction for the index on Thursday with possible technical rebound the following day. Astra International Tbk PT rose 2.1 percent, while Perusahaan Gas Negara (Persero) Tbk PT gained 1.3 percent. Vietnamese shares were lower after two sessions of gains, with healthcare stocks dragging down the index. Dhg Pharmaceutical Joint-Stock Co dropped 0.5 percent. Ahead of Yellen's speech and given the weakness on Wall Street and lower commodity prices, the Vietnamese market is declining, said Fiachra MacCana, head of research at Ho Chi Minh Securities. "There is a hint of nervousness in air with investors expecting the speech to lay out a possible rationale for a rate hike before the year-end," MacCana said. MSCI's broadest index of Asia-Pacific shares outside Japan was up 0.2 percent at 0440 GMT. For Asian Companies click; SOUTHEAST ASIAN STOCK MARKETS STOCK MARKETS Change at 0440 GMT Market Current Prev close Pct Move Singapore 2872.64 2869.57 0.11 Bangkok 1552.83 1547.55 0.34 Manila 7856.1 7866.13 -0.13 Jakarta 5430.087 5403.992 0.48 Kuala Lumpur 1685.28 1682.06 0.19 Ho Chi Minh 659.25 660.77 -0.23 Change on year Market Current End 2015 Pct Move Singapore 2872.64 2882.73 -0.35 Bangkok 1552.83 1288.02 20.56 Manila 7856.1 6952.08 13.00 Jakarta 5430.087 4593.008 18.23 Kuala Lumpur 1685.28 1692.51 -0.43 Ho Chi Minh 659.25 579.03 13.85 (Reporting by Krishna V Kurup in Bengaluru; Editing by Subhranshu Sahu)
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