SE Asia Stocks - Most weak ahead of Fed; Thai telecoms shares fall
BANGKOK, June 18 (Reuters) - Most Southeast Asian stock markets edged lower on Wednesday as investors weighed in the risks of the U.S. Federal Reserve's policy outlook, with Thai telecoms shares succumbing to more selloffs after an auction of mobile licences was suspended. Shares of Advanced Info Service saw brisk selling as the auction delay dented the earnings outlook of the country's biggest mobile phone operator. "Should spectrum auctions be delayed for an extended period, we may see operators start to struggle on capacity and service offers given the rising importance of data. AIS will be most vulnerable in this case," broker Citi said in a report. The Thai SET index was down 0.4 percent at midday. The index fell Tuesday on late selling in telecom shares after a regulator temporarily suspended the auction of fourth generation licences. Brokers expect near-term consolidation in Thai shares after a 3.5 percent gain so far this month, boosted by optimism about a recovery in domestic consumption and investment. Most others in Southeast Asia were little changed during the same period. The Bank of Thailand is expected to maintain its policy interest rate at 2.0 percent in a meeting due later in the day, partly due to prospects of improvement in the domestic economy, brokers said. In Manila, banking shares such as BDO Unibank and Metropolitan Bank & Trust rose ahead of the central bank meeting on Thursday, outperforming the broader market which fell 0.6 percent. The Philippine central bank will likely keep rates unchanged at its policy meeting after growth unexpectedly slowed in the first quarter, a Reuters poll showed. Stocks in Singapore, Malaysia, Indonesia and Vietnam were almost unchanged. The Fed is widely expected to chop another $10 billion from its monthly bond purchases at a meeting on Tuesday and Wednesday but make few, if any, other concrete policy moves. For Asian Companies click; For South East Asia Hot Stock reports, click; SOUTHEAST ASIAN STOCK MARKETS Change at 0631 GMT Market Current Prev Close Pct Move TR SE Asia Index* 423.01 424.87 -0.44 Singapore 3281.82 3274.44 +0.19 Kuala Lumpur 1873.03 1874.60 -0.08 Bangkok 1464.55 1471.02 -0.44 Jakarta 4897.80 4909.52 -0.24 Manila 6661.73 6704.93 -0.64 Ho Chi Minh 573.06 572.25 +0.14 * The Thomson Reuters South East Asia Index is a highly representative indicator of stocks listed in Indonesia, Malaysia, the Philippines, Singapore, Thailand and Vietnam. (Reporting by Viparat Jantraprap; Editing by Sunil Nair)
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