August 18, 2016 / 9:52 AM / 2 years ago

SE Asia Stocks-Rise after Fed minutes; Indonesia posts 16-mth closing high

By Justin George Varghese
    Aug 18 (Reuters) - Most Southeast Asian stock markets closed
higher on Thursday, in line with Asian peers, as risk-taking
appetite returned after minutes of the U.S. Federal Reserve's
July policy meeting indicated a rate hike is still some way off.
    Fed policymakers agree that more economic data is needed
before raising rates, although some see a need to tighten policy
soon, the minutes showed. 
    "Although uncertainty prevails among investors with regard
to the timing of the next rate hike, the likelihood of it being
in September has significantly reduced," said Samantha Wee, a
trader with CLSA Singapore Pte Ltd.
    MSCI's broadest index of Asia-Pacific shares outside Japan
 rose as much as 0.76 percent in its biggest rise
since Aug. 8. 
    Indonesian shares rose 1.7 percent and posted their
highest close since April 2015, with consumer stocks accounting
for more than half of the rise.
    PT Hanjaya Mandala Sampoerna Tbk and PT Astra
International Tbk were among the top percentage
    Thai shares jumped 1 percent and posted their first
gain in four sessions, driven by industrials.
    Philippine shares eked out small gains after data
showed second-quarter annual economic growth picked up to 7.0
percent from 6.8 percent in January-March. 
    The Philippine central bank said it does not expect
increased spending by the government to push inflation higher
significantly, and saw no need for monetary policy
    LT Group Inc and Universal Robina Corp 
were the top performers.
    Malaysian shares closed marginally higher, while
Singapore posted its sixth straight session of losses,
dragged down by consumer goods stocks.
For Asian Companies click;  

  STOCK MARKETS                                         
  Change on 0930 GMT                                    
  Market              Current    Prev. close   Pct Move
  Singapore           2836.98    2843.35       -0.22
  Bangkok             1547.01    1531.63       1.00
  Manila              7952.81    7946.19       0.08
  Jakarta             5461.45    5371.846      1.67
  Kuala Lumpur        1694.87    1694.32       0.03
  Ho Chi Minh         660.65     660.51        0.02
  Change this year                             
  Market              Current    End prev yr   Pct Move
  Singapore           2836.98    2882.73       -1.59
  Bangkok             1547.01    1288.02       20.11
  Manila              7952.81    6952.08       14.39
  Jakarta             5461.45    4593.008      18.91
  Kuala Lumpur        1694.87    1692.51       0.14
  Ho Chi Minh         660.65     579.03        14.10

 (Reporting by Justin George Varghese in Bengaluru; Editing by
Subhranshu Sahu)
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