SE Asia Stocks -Mostly lower ahead of Fed meet; Jakarta down third day
Oct 28 (Reuters) - Most Southeast Asian stock markets were weaker on Tuesday as investors awaited the outcome of the U.S. Federal Reserve's two-day meeting that begins later in the session for clues to the direction of U.S. interest rates. The Jakarta Composite Index was down 0.4 percent by 0654 GMT, trading at its lowest since Oct. 17 and poised to fall for a third straight day as the country's newly-appointed cabinet weighed on investor sentiment. Indonesian President Joko Widodo held his first cabinet meeting on Monday and gave his top four ministers until the end of the week to identify policy changes that would remove growth bottlenecks. "Market is likely to continue its fall further today on the back of disappointing cabinet and news of Italian banks failing ECB's stress tests," Jakarta-based Trimegah Securities said in a research note. "We think investors can start buying on weakness, though suggest focus on big-cap stocks with solid fundamentals," like Telecomunikasi Indonesia, Bank Central Asia, and Bank Negara Indonesia. Investors, however, were broadly concerned over the outcome of the Fed meeting. Singapore-based NetResearch Asia in a investor note said the Fed's post-meeting comments will be closely watched with observers divided as to whether there would be any change in its stance on interest rates and especially on any changes to the end date for the third round of quantitative easing. "Though some may cheer such a move, it would also signal to others that the Fed's grasp on economic indicators may not be as thorough as it should be, especially after recent assurances that plans are on track," it said. The Philippine stock index was down 0.3 percent, trading at its lowest level since Oct. 21. Malaysia was 0.1 percent weaker while Singapore fell 0.5 percent to a one-week low. Thailand, bucking the trend, was up 0.3 percent, while Vietnam's benchmark VN Index rebounded 0.58 percent at the break from a near-four-month low as investors picked up cheap shares around a strong support level. For Asian Companies click; For South East Asia Hot Stock reports, click; SOUTHEAST ASIAN STOCK MARKETS Change at 0654 GMT Market Current Prev Close Pct Move Singapore 3210.59 3226.11 -0.48 Kuala Lumpur 1821.06 1823.15 -0.11 Bangkok 1552.47 1547.89 +0.30 Jakarta 5002.72 5024.29 -0.43 Manila 7084.65 7103.54 -0.27 Ho Chi Minh 583.13 580.80 +0.57 (Reporting by Shihar Aneez in COLOMBO; Editing by Sunil Nair)
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