SE Asia Stocks - Thai shares rebound before rate decision; others weak
BANGKOK, March 11 (Reuters) - Southeast Asian stock markets fell on Wednesday amid expectations of an earlier U.S. interest rate hike but the Thai benchmark recovered from a near two-month low before its central bank's policy review. The Thai SET index was 0.06 percent higher after a fall in early trading hours to 1,520.20, its lowest since Jan. 16. Interest-rate sensitive stocks were mixed, with battered banking shares rebounding from Tuesday's loss, while property shares fell 1.1 percent. The Monetary Policy Committee is due to release its interest rate decision later in the day. A Reuters poll showed 16 of 21 economists predicting the one-day repurchase rate will be left at 2 percent. "Any rate cut may give some boost to stock market sentiment but we maintain our view that chances of an interest rate cut at this policy meeting remains slim," strategists at broker Phillip Securities wrote in a report. "We see the odds of the MPC staying put on interest rates at 2 percent at this meeting and greater scope for a possible rate cut at its April policy meeting at the soonest," it said. Singapore's Straits Times Index and Malaysia's key index declined for a third day, with both hitting their lowest since Jan. 22. Stocks in Indonesia and the Philippines retreated from the previous session's gains. Asian stocks fell to a two-month low on Wednesday as nervous markets recoiled on worries about an earlier U.S. interest rate hike. MSCI's broadest index of Asia-Pacific shares outside Japan was down 0.5 percent. For Asian Companies click; For South East Asia Hot Stock reports, click; SOUTHEAST ASIAN STOCK MARKETS Change at 0428 GMT Market Current Prev Close Pct Move Singapore 3381.90 3398.26 -0.48 Kuala Lumpur 1781.31 1789.73 -0.47 Bangkok 1531.94 1531.04 +0.06 Jakarta 5415.88 5462.93 -0.86 Manila 7788.29 7828.48 -0.51 Ho Chi Minh 588.91 589.66 -0.13 (Reporting by Viparat Jantraprap; Editing by Prateek Chatterjee)
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