SE Asia Stocks -Up ahead of Fed; Malaysia near 6-week high
BANGKOK, Sept 17 (Reuters) - Southeast Asian stock markets rose on Thursday ahead of a likely policy move by the U.S. Federal Reserve, with stocks in Malaysia outperforming and Singapore hitting a more than one-week high as a big jump in global oil prices boosted energy stocks. Oil prices jumped as much as 6 percent on Wednesday after a U.S. stock draw. Oil bulls were also encouraged by doubts on whether the Fed will decide to hike U.S. interest rates on Thursday after tame August inflation data. Malaysia's Kuala Lumpur composite index was up 2.1 percent on a rally in oil-related stocks. The index touched 1,691.93, a near six-week high, on resuming trade after a market holiday. Shares of oil and gas services firm Sapurakencana Petroleum Bhd was up 7 percent and Tenaga Nasional Bhd was 2.3 percent higher, among top gainers. Affin Hwang Capital said in a strategy note that a surge in crude oil prices and the strengthening ringgit would help the index to test the next target of 1,700. "Energy-related stocks are expected to advance further," it said. Singapore's Straits Times Index climbed 1 percent to the highest since Sept. 9. Shares of oil and gas services firm Keppel Corporation advanced 3.7 percent, the biggest percentage gainer. A handful of regional energy shares posted strong gains, including Thailand's PTT Exploration and Production Pcl which rose 2.1 percent and Philippine Energy Development Corp which was up 3.7 percent. Indonesia's Perusahaan Gas Negara was up 3.2 percent, outpacing the key Jakarta composite index's 0.8 percent gain, with investors awaiting the Indonesian central bank's interest rate decision, expected after 0600 GMT. The Thai SET index rose for a second day, the Philippines' key index headed for a fifth straight gain and Vietnam posted modest gains, its second. Asian stocks edged up to a three-week high on Thursday ahead of the Fed rate decision. For Asian Companies click; SOUTHEAST ASIAN STOCK MARKETS Change at 0524 GMT Market Current Prev Close Pct Move Singapore 2898.47 2868.74 +1.04 Kuala Lumpur 1682.33 1647.15 +2.14 Bangkok 1390.64 1381.80 +0.64 Jakarta 4368.86 4332.51 +0.84 Manila 7145.30 7093.92 +0.72 Ho Chi Minh 565.37 564.13 +0.22 (Reporting by Viparat Jantraprap; Additional reporting by Jongwoo Cheon in Singapore; Editing by Biju Dwarakanath)
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