March 3, 2017 / 5:16 AM / a year ago

SE Asia Stocks-Lower as Fed rate hike expectations grow

    By Christina Martin
    March 3 (Reuters) - Southeast Asian stock markets, except
Vietnam, fell on Friday as Asian shares pulled back and the
dollar held steady ahead of a speech by U.S. Federal Reserve
Chair Janet Yellen, with expectations growing the Fed would
raise interest rates soon. 
    Several Fed officials have recently voiced their need for
higher rates, which has seen the implied probability of a move
this month shoot higher, and Yellen is expected to echo the same
sentiment in her speech later in the day.
    "I think most Asian markets are awaiting Yellen's speech...
the probability of a rate hike is now somewhere around 80
percent versus last week's 40 percent, so a rate hike wouldn't
be a surprise event now. I think that's pulling Asian equities
down," said Victor Felix, equity analyst at AB Capital
Securities in Manila.
    Asian shares fell, with MSCI's broadest index of
Asia-Pacific shares outside Japan down 0.9
percent in the biggest daily drop so far this year.
    The dollar was broadly steady on Friday, but remained
on track for solid weekly gains. 
    "Any rate hike there adds further strength to the U.S.
dollar and when that happens you're going to see a reversal of
fund flow from emerging markets," said Nicholas Teo, trading
strategist at KGI Securities (Singapore) Pte Ltd. 
    In Singapore, the FTSE Straits Times Index slipped
about 1 percent, dragged down by financials, industrials and
real estate stocks. 
    DBS Group lost 0.7 percent, while Jardine Matheson
Holdings Ltd fell as much as 3 percent, its biggest
intraday drop in three months. 
    "Singapore has been one of the stronger performing markets
in Asia in the run up since this year. So, a lot of hot money
that came in on the back of the initial weakness in the U.S.
dollar is now starting to reverse," Teo said. 
    The Philippine index was off 0.3 percent, with losses
led by industrial and financial stocks. 
    SM Investments Corp dropped about 1 percent, while
Security Bank Corp touched an eight-week low, placing
itself among the worst performers. 
    The Philippine peso fell to a fresh 10-year low versus the
dollar on Friday on increased expectations of a Fed rate hike
this month.
    Malaysia edged 0.4 percent lower, while the Thai
index snapped three straight sessions of gains. 
For Asian Companies click;  

  Market           Current       Previous Close  Pct Move
  Singapore        3106.56       3136.48         -0.95
  Bangkok          1567.63       1569.94         -0.15
  Manila           7215.2        7234.94         -0.27
  Jakarta          5396.382      5408.254        -0.22
  Kuala Lumpur     1708.59       1715.67         -0.41
  Ho Chi Minh      708.26        707.51          0.11
  Change on year                                 
  Market           Current       End 2016        Pct Move
  Singapore        3106.56       2880.76         7.84
  Bangkok          1567.63       1542.94         1.60
  Manila           7215.2        6840.64         5.48
  Jakarta          5396.382      5296.711        1.88
  Kuala Lumpur     1708.59       1641.73         4.07
  Ho Chi Minh      708.26        664.87          6.53

 (Reporting by Christina Martin; Editing by Biju Dwarakanath)
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