SE Asia Stocks-Subdued ahead of ECB meeting, U.S. jobless claims data
By Aparajita Saxena July 21 (Reuters) - Most Southeast Asian stock markets slipped on Thursday as investors stayed on the sidelines ahead of the European Central Bank's policy meeting, U.S. jobless claims and Philly Fed manufacturing data due later in the day. While the ECB is seen standing pat on policy, the market expects the central bank to hint at future monetary policy easing, forecast to come as early as September. "The outcome of the ECB meeting, along with data from the U.S., will set the tone for economic growth," said Alex Tiu, an analyst with AB Capital Securities Inc in Manila. Investors are expected to be bullish ahead of the Bank of Japan's policy meeting next week, he said, adding that: "Stimulus from Japan will push investors to go for more riskier assets. We can expect further devaluation in the yen. Analysts expect more stimulus and a rate cut from Japan is definitely in question." Meanwhile, Indonesian shares rose ahead of the central bank's policy meeting later in the day where it is expected to cut its policy rate for a fifth time this year in a bid to help lift annual growth back above 5 percent. Financials stocks were among the top gainers, with PT Bank Central Asia Tbk, the country's biggest lender by market value, rising to its highest level in nearly three months on strong half-yearly earnings. Malaysian shares were headed for a third straight session of losses, dragged down by healthcare stocks including IHH Healthcare Bhd. Singapore authorities seized assets worth S$240 million in an investigation of 1MDB-related fund flows for possible money laundering, in a probe which has found "deficiencies" at several major banks in the city-state. Philippine shares were on track to snap two sessions of gains, with industrials losing the most, while Thailand and Vietnam were flat. For Asian Companies click; SOUTHEAST ASIAN STOCK MARKETS STOCK MARKETS Change at 0445 GMT Market Current Previous Close Pct Move Singapore 2940.74 2945.74 -0.17 Bangkok 1509.24 1510.03 -0.05 Manila 8032.03 8051.97 -0.25 Jakarta 5263.208 5242.823 0.39 Kuala Lumpur 1662.72 1669.61 -0.41 Ho Chi Minh 658.94 660.26 -0.20 Change on year Market Current End 2015 Pct Move Singapore 2940.74 2882.73 2.01 Bangkok 1509.24 1288.02 17.18 Manila 8032.03 6952.08 15.53 Jakarta 5263.208 4593.008 14.59 Kuala Lumpur 1662.72 1692.51 -1.76 Ho Chi Minh 658.94 579.03 13.80 (Reporting by Aparajita Saxena; Editing by Subhranshu Sahu)
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