SE Asia Stocks-Higher as near-term U.S. rate rise expectations firm up
By Rushil Dutta May 30 (Reuters) - Southeast Asian stock markets largely traded higher on Monday as a top Fed official reiterated the possibility of a U.S. rate hike in the near future, reinforcing similar comments by Fed chair Janet Yellen last week. St. Louis Federal Reserve President James Bullard said on Monday global markets appear to be "well-prepared" for a summer interest rate hike from the Fed, although he did not specify a date for the policy move. This came after the U.S. central bank chief said on Friday that the Federal Reserve should raise interest rates "in the coming months" if the economy picks up as expected and jobs continue to be generated. Stocks were also bolstered after the U.S. Commerce Department said on Friday that GDP rose at a 0.8 percent annual rate as opposed to the 0.5 percent pace reported last month, according to a second GDP estimate for the January-March period. "Yellen was hawkish on Friday, and her speech affirms the change in stance and monetary policies in the US. Investors are now waiting to see how the rate hike affects asset prices," Alex Tiu, an analyst at AB Capital Securities Inc in Manila said. "The speech signalled that the US economy is improving to the point where the Fed feels confident to raise rates - export oriented countries will greatly benefit from a healthy US market." The Thai SET index led the region, led by energy and industrials. State-owned oil and gas firm PTT PCL gained 1.6 percent, while Thai Oil PCL rose 0.4 percent, after international oil prices edged up in early trading on Monday. O/R Indonesian stocks were 0.5 percent higher, supported by energy and financials. Petroleum distributor AKR Corporindo Tbk PT rose 3 percent. The Philippine main index gained 0.4 percent, while stocks in Singapore were flat. Vietnam rose marginally, gaining for a second straight session. Malaysia's main index lost 0.6 percent, with broadcaster Astro Malaysia down 2.9 percent. Asian shares however slipped on Monday while the dollar marked fresh highs after Yellen's comments. For Asian Companies click; SOUTHEAST ASIAN STOCK MARKETS STOCK MARKETS Change at 0413 GMT Market Current Previous Pct Move Close Singapore 2802.83 2802.51 0.01 Bangkok 1422.61 1412.67 0.70 Manila 7443.1 7411.68 0.42 Jakarta 4838.204 4814.731 0.49 Kuala Lumpur 1627.45 1637.19 -0.59 Ho Chi Minh 609.42 608.11 0.22 Change on year Market Current End 2015 Pct Move Singapore 2803.15 2882.73 -2.76 Bangkok 1422.56 1288.02 10.45 Manila 7443.1 6952.08 7.06 Jakarta 4838.44 4593.008 5.34 Kuala Lumpur 1627.45 1692.51 -3.84 Ho Chi Minh 609.42 579.03 5.25 (Additional reporting by Aparajita Saxena; Editing by Biju Dwarakanath)
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