SE Asia Stocks-Close higher on Yellen's comments
By Krishna V Kurup June 7 (Reuters) - Southeast Asian stocks closed higher on Tuesday, in line with Asian peers, after Federal Reserve Chair Janet Yellen gave a largely upbeat assessment of the U.S. economy, although she did not specify a time frame for an interest rate increase. The Fed chief said last month's jobs report was "disappointing" but warned against attaching too much significance to the payrolls data in isolation. Yellen was however careful not to give any hints about the timing of the next rate hike, in contrast to a speech on May 27, when she said such a move would probably be appropriate "in coming months." Asian stocks rose to a five-week high on Tuesday, with the MSCI's broadest index of Asia-Pacific shares outside Japan gaining 1.6 percent, as investors judged the Fed's cautious stance as well-suited to equities. "Emerging markets are rejoicing as the probability of Fed rate hike happening in July is only 26 percent. It will probably be in September or the latter part of the year. So for now the funds are flowing back into the markets," said Grace G. Aller, an analyst with Manila-based AP Securities. Philippine shares led the gains in Southeast Asia and closed 1.5 percent higher, after rising as much as 1.9 percent earlier in the day to their highest level since May 26, 2015. Sentiment got a boost after May inflation came in within the central bank's projection of 1.1-1.9 percent. Financials and utilities led the gains, with Aboitiz Power Corp and Metro Pacific Investments Corp among the top performers. Singapore's Straits Times Index extended gains into a fourth straight session, with oil & gas stocks leading the gains. Vietnam finished 0.7 percent higher, led by energy and basic materials stocks. For Asian Companies click; SOUTHEAST ASIAN STOCK MARKETS STOCK MARKETS Change on the day Market Current previous Pct Move close Singapore 2848.09 2831.28 0.59 Bangkok 1442.42 1443.42 -0.07 Manila 7710.54 7598.22 1.48 Jakarta 4933.989 4896.025 0.78 Kuala Lumpur 1660.62 1648.99 0.71 Ho Chi Minh 624.65 620.05 0.74 Change on year Market Current End prev yr Pct Move Singapore 2848.09 2882.73 -1.20 Bangkok 1442.42 1288.02 11.99 Manila 7710.54 6952.08 10.91 Jakarta 4933.989 4593.008 7.42 Kuala Lumpur 1660.62 1692.51 -1.88 Ho Chi Minh 624.65 579.03 7.88 (Reporting by Krishna V Kurup in Bengaluru; Editing by Subhranshu Sahu)
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