SE Asia Stocks-Mixed as investors await BOJ, Fed decisions
By Aparajita Saxena Sept 20 (Reuters) - Southeast Asian markets ended mixed on Tuesday as uncertainty over policy moves by the U.S. Federal Reserve and the Bank of Japan kept investors on the sidelines. The Federal Open Market Committee is expected to stand pat on interest rates, while the BOJ is expected to make crucial changes to its easing programme. A Reuters poll of economists found on Tuesday that the BOJ is expected to further ease its ultra-loose policies at this week's meeting, as it struggles to overcome chronic stagnation and quell speculation that it is running out of options. Economists were largely split over whether the BOJ's next move would be to cut its negative interest rate even deeper, or to ramp up or recalibrate its asset purchase programme, or even do both. Statements from the central bank's officials also suggested that there is room to cut interest rates further, despite criticism that they are hurting financial institutions and even damaging economic sentiment, adding to the speculation that the BOJ will in fact take easing measures. "Given monetary easing is the current consensus, no actions from BOJ might lead to further disappointment after the European Central Bank's disappointing rate decision," Daewoo Securities analyst Taye Shim said in a note. Investors will maintain a wait-and-see stance, and will follow Wall Street movements closely, said Grace Aller of AP Securities in Manila. Thai shares extended their morning losses to snap five sessions of gains, underperforming other markets in the region. Financials led losses, with Siam Commercial Bank shedding 1.3 percent. Energy stocks, Thailand's third largest sector by market value, also dropped 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. Vietnam reversed its morning losses and ended 0.8 percent higher, extending yesterday's gain, with utilities supporting the uptrend. Philippine shares extended morning session gains to end 1.3 percent higher, supported by financials. SM Prime Holdings advanced 3.2 percent. A Reuters poll showed the Philippine 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 on day Market Current previous Pct Move close Singapore 2854.69 2852.14 0.09 Bangkok 1473.78 1492.73 -1.27 Manila 7671.72 7575.84 1.27 Jakarta 5302.493 5321.841 -0.36 Kuala Lumpur 1655.78 1651.71 0.25 Ho Chi Minh 663.37 657.89 0.83 Change this year Market Current End prev yr Pct Move Singapore 2854.69 2882.73 -0.97 Bangkok 1473.78 1288.02 14.42 Manila 7671.72 6952.08 10.35 Jakarta 5302.493 4593.008 15.45 Kuala Lumpur 1655.78 1692.51 -2.17 Ho Chi Minh 663.37 579.03 14.57 (Reporting by Aparajita Saxena in Bengaluru; Editing by Subhranshu Sahu and Amrutha Gayathri)
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