August 17, 2016 / 10:27 AM / 2 years ago

SE Asia Stocks-Retreat on US rate hike talk; investors eye Fed minutes

By Anusha Ravindranath
    Aug 17 (Reuters) - Most Southeast Asian stocks fell on
Wednesday, as risk appetite soured after two U.S. Federal
Reserve officials stoked hopes that interest rates would be
raised at least once this year, while investors braced for the
minutes of a Fed meeting. 
    New York Federal Reserve Bank President William Dudley said
a rate hike in September was possible, while Atlanta Fed
President Dennis Lockhart said the U.S. economy is likely strong
enough for at least one rate increase before the end of 2016,
with two a possibility. 
    Comments from Dudley, a permanent voter on policy and a
close ally of Fed Chair Janet Yellen, also included an unusual
warning on low bond yields and were seen as more hawkish than a
cautious message last month. 
    Investors took the comments as a signal that a rate hike in
September is back on the table, said Victor Felix of AB Capital
Securities Inc. 
    "I think a rate hike for them (investors) is not on the
radar at this point, at least not for this year."  
    Regional markets also took cues from last night's
profit-taking in U.S. equities, Felix said. 
    U.S. stocks eased from record highs on Tuesday after
comments from Federal Reserve officials fuelled speculation of
an interest rate hike this year. 
    The U.S. Fed kept rates on hold in June despite some Fed
officials talking up the possibility of a rate increase in the
preceding weeks. 
    Broader sentiment also took a hit as oil prices fell from
5-week highs, as analysts doubted possible producer talks to
restrain oversupply would be successful. 
    Singapore hit a more than one-week closing low with
bluechips Singapore Airlines and Singapore
Telcommunications among the top losers.
    Philippine stocks fell, dragged down by energy shares
with Petron Corp losing 1.6 percent.    
    For regional markets such as the Philippines, valuations
seem to be on the higher side, said Charles Ang of COL
Financial, adding stocks were no longer cheap.
    Malaysian stocks closed lower, dragged down by big
caps such as British American Tobacco Malaysia Bhd,
while Thailand fell as energy and industrial stocks lost
    Bucking the trend, Vietnam closed higher, supported
by gains in consumer cyclicals. 
    The Indonesian stock market was closed for a public
For Asian Companies click;  

  STOCK MARKETS                                        
 Change on day                                         
  Market           Current       Previous     Pct Move
  Singapore        2843.35       2858.8       -0.54
  Bangkok          1531.63       1537.52      -0.38
  Manila           7946.19       7983.38      -0.47
  Kuala Lumpur     1694.32       1699.89      -0.33
  Ho Chi Minh      660.51        658.11       0.36
 Change so far                                
  Market           Current       End 2015     Pct Move
  Singapore        2843.35       2882.73      -1.37
  Bangkok          1531.63       1288.02      18.91
  Manila           7946.19       6952.08      14.30
  Kuala Lumpur     1694.32       1692.51      0.11
  Ho Chi Minh      660.51        579.03       14.07

 (Reporting by Anusha Ravindranath in Bengaluru; Editing by Biju
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