SE Asia Stocks-Tread water as BOJ, Fed looms; Philippines up
By Aparajita Saxena Sept 20 (Reuters) - Most Southeast Asian stock markets were flat with a negative bias on Tuesday as investors nervously awaited the outcome of the central bank meetings in Japan and the United States, with speculations rife that the Bank of Japan will make crucial changes to its easing programme. BOJ officials have suggested that there is room to cut interest rates further, despite criticism that they are hurting financial institutions and even damaging economic sentiment. Investors are also keeping an eye on the meeting of the Federal Reserve, which is expected to keep interest rates unchanged in September, for any hints on the timing of a rate hike. "We consider FOMC (Federal Open Market Committee) to be a non-event, hence we turn our attention to the Bank of Japan," Daewoo Securities analyst Taye Shim said in a note. Asian markets will follow Wall Street movements closely, said Grace Aller of AP Securities in Manila. Thai shares fell 1 percent to snap five sessions of gains, underperforming other markets in the region. Financials led the falls with Kasikornbank Pcl, Thailand's fourth-largest lender by assets, shedding 1.3 percent. Singapore shares were marginally lower with energy stocks declining on a decline in global oil prices after Venezuela said global supplies needed to fall by 10 percent in order to bring production down to consumption levels. Indonesian shares eased after the previous session's surge, with news company Tempo Inti Media Tbk PT as the biggest percentage loser. Indonesia's central bank likely will cut its benchmark interest rate for the fifth time this year on Thursday to try to spur economic growth, a Reuters poll showed. Bucking the trend, Philippine shares rose 0.7 percent with financial stocks driving the gains after a Reuters poll showed the central bank is expected to keep its benchmark interest rate steady on Thursday. The poll also showed that if inflation picks up and the U.S. Fed tightens its policy, the Philippine central bank may turn hawkish next year. For Asian Companies click; SOUTHEAST ASIAN STOCK MARKETS STOCK MARKETS Change at 0357 GMT Market Current Previous Close Pct Move Singapore 2846.34 2852.14 -0.20 Bangkok 1477.63 1492.73 -1.01 Manila 7630.52 7575.84 0.72 Jakarta 5308.579 5321.841 -0.25 Kuala Lumpur 1647.67 1651.71 -0.24 Ho Chi Minh 655.43 657.89 -0.37 Change this year Market Current End 2015 Pct Move Singapore 2846.34 2882.73 -1.26 Bangkok 1477.63 1288.02 14.72 Manila 7630.52 6952.08 9.76 Jakarta 5308.579 4593.008 15.58 Kuala Lumpur 1647.67 1692.51 -2.65 Ho Chi Minh 655.43 579.03 13.19 (Reporting by Aparajita Saxena in Bengaluru; Editing by Subhranshu Sahu)
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