SE Asia Stocks-Lower ahead of BOJ meeting; S'pore down on bleak jobs data
July 28 (Reuters) - Most Southeast Asian stocks were lower on Thursday, in line with Asian peers, as investors turned cautious ahead of a meeting by the Bank of Japan as it faces political pressure to support Shinzo Abe's bigger-than-expected fiscal spending package. Japan's economy minister called on the central bank to work with the government to boost growth after the Japanese Prime Minister sent a "powerful message" by announcing a 28 trillion yen ($267 billion) stimulus package on Wednesday. "Markets are watching out for BOJ's reaction in relation to the announcement as there is no pre-commitment to anything specific yet," said Vishnu Varathan of the Singapore-based Mizuho Corporate Bank. "Nikkei's softer footing has also had an influence on the broader markets." Japan's Nikkei fell nearly 1 percent, undermined by a stronger yen and nerves before the BoJ's monetary policy decision on Friday. Asian stocks were mostly lower on Thursday as Chinese equities deepened their losses, souring risk sentiment that had improved earlier after the Federal Reserve provided a positive assessment of the U.S. economy. The Fed left interest rates unchanged on Wednesday but said near-term risks to the U.S. economic outlook had diminished. Philippines lost 1.2 percent, dragged down by consumer staples and utilities. Infrastructure group Aboitiz Equity Ventures and food-to-petrochemicals conglomerate JG Summit Holdings were among the top losers on the index. Markets are falling on profit-taking as a lot of large-cap stocks have posted gains, and there are no local catalysts holding the market, said Grace Aller, an analyst with Manila-based AP Securities. Singapore stocks were trading nearly 1 percent lower as labour market data showed the unemployment rate rose to 2.1 percent in the second quarter, at levels last seen in the first quarter of 2014. Malaysian stocks fell 0.5 percent, led by consumer cyclicals and consumer staples. Casino operator Genting Bhd, the biggest loser on the index, fell 5.3 percent. Jakarta and Vietnam fell marginally, while Thai stocks inched up. For Asian Companies click; SOUTHEAST ASIAN STOCK MARKETS STOCK MARKETS Change at 0500 GMT Market Current Previous Pct Move Close Singapore 2912.73 2941.49 -0.98 Bangkok 1517.48 1515.4 0.14 Manila 8000.19 8100.48 -1.24 Jakarta 5268.676 5274.361 -0.11 Kuala Lumpur 1654.83 1663.56 -0.52 Ho Chi Minh 653.65 656.11 -0.37 Change on year Market Current End 2015 Pct Move Singapore 2912.73 2882.73 1.04 Bangkok 1517.48 1288.02 17.81 Manila 8000.19 6952.08 15.08 Jakarta 5268.676 4593.008 14.71 Kuala Lumpur 1654.83 1692.51 -2.23 Ho Chi Minh 653.65 579.03 12.89 (Reporting by Hanna Paul; Editing by Biju Dwarakanath)
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