SE Asia Stocks-Lukewarm as investors await Fed signals; Philippines down
By Geo Tharappel Aug 31 (Reuters) - Most Southeast Asian stock markets were soft on Wednesday as investors waited to see if upcoming U.S. jobs data could nudge the Federal Reserve into raising interest rates as soon as September. Fed Vice Chairman Stanley Fischer said in a television interview on Tuesday that the U.S. jobs market was nearly at full strength and the pace of the central bank's interest rate hikes would depend on how well the economy is doing. U.S. consumer confidence rose to an 11-month high in August, with households more upbeat about the labour market, data released on Tuesday showed, in a further sign that the economy was regaining steam after faltering in the first half of the year. "Everybody is waiting for this Friday... (U.S. jobs data) will probably give more signals whether the Fed will hike rates in September," said Ong Kian Lin, head of research at Singapore-based RHB Securities. Philippine shares fell nearly 1 percent and were headed for their sixth straight session of declines, with consumer cyclicals and utilities losing the most. "Expecting negative bias in trading today because of hawkish comments of the Fed overnight regarding the possibility of a rate hike next month, that's bad overall for emerging countries which includes the Philippines," said Ralph Bodollo, a property analyst with Manila-based RCBC Securities Inc. SM Investments Corp and Jollibee Foods Corp fell 2.18 percent and 1.12 percent, respectively. Conglomerate Aboitiz Equity Ventures, parent of one of the Philippines' biggest power producers, fell as much as 2.8 percent to its lowest in two months. Thai shares fell about 0.3 percent, with energy and industrials losing the most. PTT Exploration and Production Pcl and Thai Oil Pcl posted their biggest intraday percentage loss in more than a week. Crude oil futures continued to slip as the dollar held around three-week highs and industry stocks data indicated a build in U.S. crude inventories. The Malaysian stock market was closed for a holiday. For Asian Companies click; SOUTHEAST ASIAN STOCK MARKETS STOCK MARKETS Change at 0445 GMT Market Current previous Pct Move close Singapore 2828.86 2828.39 0.02 Bangkok 1541.8 1546.13 -0.28 Manila 7723.42 7794.93 -0.92 Jakarta 5373.624 5362.316 0.21 Ho Chi Minh 671.39 672.67 -0.19 Change this year Market Current End 2015 Pct Move Singapore 2828.86 2882.73 -1.87 Bangkok 1541.8 1288.02 19.70 Manila 7723.42 6952.08 11.10 Jakarta 5373.624 4593.008 17.00 Ho Chi Minh 671.39 579.03 15.95 (Reporting by Geo Tharappel in Bengaluru; Editing by Subhranshu Sahu)
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