May 23, 2016 / 10:22 AM / 2 years ago

SE Asia Stocks-Cautious ahead of US GDP data, Yellen speech

May 23 (Reuters) - Southeast Asian stocks were largely flat
to higher as investors turned cautious ahead of preliminary U.S.
GDP data and speeches by Fed policymakers this week that will
likely give cues on a possible rate increase by the U.S. Fed in
    Investors will listen closely to a slew of U.S. Federal
Reserve policymakers this week, including Fed Chair Janet Yellen
who appears at a panel event hosted by Harvard University on
Friday, to gauge how soon they will raise interest rates. 
    The key precondition for a rate hike that U.S.
policy-setters outlined in April was signs of economic growth
picking up in the second quarter and of employment and inflation
firming up, minutes from the FOMC meeting showed last week.
    With no second-quarter GDP data due until the end of July,
investors are likely to focus on the second estimate of U.S.
first-quarter growth due out on Friday. 
    "This week, global investors would wait for preliminary US
GDP data and Janet Yellen speech on Friday," Jakarta-based
brokerage firm Reliance Securities said.
    Indonesian stocks closed higher, driven by 
financials, which gained nearly 1 percent.
    Bank Mandiri, Indonesia's biggest bank by assets,
closed 1.7 percent higher.
    The Philippine index snapped two sessions of losses
to end marginally higher after rising as much as 0.7 percent
intraday. The rally was led by financials with BDO Unibank Inc
 finishing 0.5 percent higher.
    The index lost 1.9 percent last week. 
    "Volatility remains a expect sharp intraday
movements this week," Philippine brokerage firm Regina Capital
said in a note.
    Thai stocks, dragged down by telecom shares, closed
0.3 percent lower. The Thai market was closed on Friday for a
public holiday.
    GSM mobile phone operator Advanced Info Service PCL
 lost 3.2 percent.
    Asian shares mostly rose earlier, with MSCI's broadest index
of Asia-Pacific shares outside Japan up 0.3
percent, clawing back after last week's 0.5 percent loss.
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  STOCK MARKETS                                 
  Change on the                                 
  Market         Current     Previous   Pct Move
  Singapore      2766.93     2763.82    0.11
  Bangkok        1381.69     1385.86    -0.30
  Manila         7306.69     7299.03    0.10
  Jakarta        4743.662    4711.878   0.67
  Kuala Lumpur   1634.89     1628.79    0.37
  Ho Chi Minh    611.03      614.81     -0.61
  Change on                             
  Market         Current     End prev   Pct Move
  Singapore      2766.93     2882.73    -4.02
  Bangkok        1381.69     1288.02    7.23
  Manila         7306.69     6952.08    5.10
  Jakarta        4743.662    4593.008   3.28
  Kuala Lumpur   1634.89     1692.51    -3.40
  Ho Chi Minh    611.03      579.03     5.53
 (Reporting by Rushil Dutta; Additonal reporting by Fransiska
Nangoy in Jakarta; Editing by Biju Dwarakanath)
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