SE Asia Stocks-Sluggish ahead of Fed, BOJ meetings
By Aparajita Saxena July 26 (Reuters) - Southeast Asian markets remained cautious on Tuesday as traders kept their distance from high-risk assets in emerging markets ahead of the U.S. Federal Reserve and Bank of Japan meetings due later this week. While the Fed is not expected to hike rates in July, investors are wary in case it acknowledges a recent improvement in U.S. economic data in a way that amplifies the risk of a move later in the year. Traders have priced in a 26 percent chance of a rate hike in September, and a 56 percent chance in December, according to CME Group's FedWatch tool. "Investors are on a wait-and-see mode right now, ahead of the Fed meeting," said Mikey Macanaig, an analyst with Sunsecurities Inc. "We don't know what the impact of Brexit is and it'll be a big risk for the U.S. to hike interest rates so soon." "Regional markets will mostly be flat in the coming days, and will take cues from the U.S. that will lead world markets," he added. Investors in the region, while wary of the Fed meeting outcome, were still largely hopeful of the likelihood of economic stimulus in Japan. The Bank of Japan is expected to ease policy later this month, according to a majority of economists polled by Reuters, who said a combination of measures would be used in another attempt to boost anaemic inflation. "Japan is in a risky situation right now, but we are definitely expecting an economic easing in Japan," said Macanaig. Malaysia ended down 0.4 percent, with consumer cyclicals weighing the most on the index. Genting Bhd was the biggest percentage loser on the index, dropping 2.35 percent. The market is likely to remain in a "short-term cumulative correcting phase before confirming trend in the medium- and long-term," Vietcombank Securities said in a note. Shares of Petrovietnam Gas Joint Stock Corp slipped 4.8 percent, tracking a fall in global oil prices, which hit their lowest since May. Singapore shares reversed their initial losses and closed 0.1 percent higher, shrugging off the industrial production data for June that showed a weaker-than-expected fall from last year. Ascendas Real Estate Investment Trust was the biggest gainer. Thai stocks slipped 0.5 percent after trading flat in the early session, hammered by energy stocks. For Asian Companies click; SOUTHEAST ASIAN STOCK MARKET STOCK MARKETS Change on day Market Current Previous close Pct Move Singapore 2933.44 2929.85 0.12 Bangkok 1504.81 1512.66 -0.52 Manila 8024.54 8049.13 -0.31 Jakarta 5224.395 5220.802 0.07 Kuala Lumpur 1661.42 1668.26 -0.41 Ho Chi Minh 648.59 649.3 -0.11 Change on year Market Current End 2015 Pct Move Singapore 2933.44 2882.73 1.76 Bangkok 1504.81 1288.02 16.83 Manila 8024.54 6952.08 15.43 Jakarta 5224.395 4593.008 13.75 Kuala Lumpur 1661.42 1692.51 -1.84 Ho Chi Minh 648.59 579.03 12.01 (Reporting by Aparajita Saxena; Editing by Sherry Jacob-Phillips)
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