SE Asia Stocks-Down ahead of ECB meeting; Philippine shares slump
By Aparajita Saxena Sept 7 (Reuters) - Most Southeast Asian stock markets ended lower on Wednesday, with Philippine shares losing more than 1 percent, as investors kept to the sidelines ahead of a crucial European Central Bank meeting that is expected to keep policy rates unchanged. The ECB, which meets on Thursday, will probably respond to pressure for further easing by announcing an extension to its asset purchase programme by year-end, a Reuters poll showed. "This week should remain generally weak as there's lack of macro events," said Taye Shim, an analyst with Daewoo Securities in Jakarta. "However, the ECB monetary policy on Thursday will be an important event to watch as all eyes will be on (ECB President Mario) Draghi's additional monetary easing - which should reinforce investor confidence that prices are going to inflate." Investors have also factored in weak U.S. services sector activity data that has cut the chances of an interest rate hike by the Federal Reserve as early as this month, analysts said. "We are looking at the ASEAN Summit, and hoping that the discussions will bear fruit... Markets are very cautious - we do not want any surprises at the moment, and we are still waiting for more data," said Mikey Macanaig, an analyst with Sunsecurities Inc in Manila. Philippine shares closed down 1.3 percent, after earlier hitting its lowest in more than two months. Financial shares fell, with property firms SM Prime Holdings Inc and Ayala Land Inc slipping about 2-3 percent. Malaysia was little changed ahead of a central bank policy meeting where it is expected to keep the benchmark rate unchanged. Banking services provider CIMB Group Bhd was the biggest gainer on the index, up 1.45 percent, while investment company IOI Corporation Bhd slipped 2.4 percent, the biggest loser. Thai shares surrendered gains to settle 0.6 percent lower, dragged down by telecom services stocks. Advanced Info Service Pcl led the losers in the sector. For Asian Companies click; SOUTHEAST ASIAN STOCK MARKETS STOCK MARKETS Change on day Market Current Previous Close Pct Move Singapore 2893.65 2896.55 -0.10 Bangkok 1488.49 1496.9 -0.56 Manila 7619.1 7719.18 -1.30 Jakarta 5381.354 5372.096 0.17 Kuala Lumpur 1689.57 1689.92 -0.02 Ho Chi Minh 661.28 663.9 -0.39 Change so far Market Current End 2015 Pct Move Singapore 2893.65 2882.73 0.38 Bangkok 1488.49 1288.02 15.56 Manila 7619.1 6952.08 9.59 Jakarta 5381.354 4593.008 17.16 Kuala Lumpur 1689.57 1692.51 -0.17 Ho Chi Minh 661.28 579.03 14.20 (Reporting by Aparajita Saxena in Bengaluru; Editing by Biju Dwarakanath)
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