March 16, 2017 / 5:07 AM / a year ago

SE Asia Stocks-Rise as Fed signals gradual tightening; banks gain

    By Aparajita Saxena
    March 16 (Reuters) - Southeast Asian stocks rose on Thursday
tracking an overnight rally in global shares after Federal
Reserve Chair Janet Yellen's comments suggested a more gradual
pace of monetary tightening this year than many had expected.
    The decision to lift the interest rate for the second time
in three months marked a convincing step in the Fed's effort to
return monetary policy to a more normal footing.
    U.S. stocks closed sharply higher on Wednesday following the
announcement, but financial stocks took a hit and ended
0.13 percent lower.
    However, banking shares were among the top gainers in
Southeast Asia.
    Wider Asian markets rose as much as 1.4
percent to their highest level in 20 months.
    "The rate hike works in two ways for the Asian markets - for
one, I think the "accommodative" stance of the Fed, despite the
hike, was well received by the market. Emerging market (EM)
equities are likely to get a breather from the uncertainties
related to the pace of rate hikes," said Taye Shim, head of
research at Mirae Asset Sekuritas.
    "Secondly, rate increases driven by inflation should bode
well for EM equities as companies have a good excuse to increase
their selling prices," he added.
    Indonesia rose as much as 1.13 percent to a near
two-year high, led by Bank Rakyat and Bank Central
    The Indonesia index of the 45 most liquid stocks
rose 1.35 percent to its highest in four months.
    Gains in Singapore were led by oil rig builder Keppel
Corp on the back of oil rallies and a weaker dollar
that makes the greenback-denominated oil less expensive for
holders of other currencies.
    The Straits Times Index climbed to its highest level
in over one-and-a-half years, with all big three banks gaining.
    Malaysia's second-largest lender by assets CIMB Group
 led the gains in financials, soaring to its highest in
20 months, adding 2.9 points to the index.
    Gains in Thailand were led by energy and industrials
while financials were among the top gainers in Vietnam.
For Asian Companies click;  

  Market             Current      Previous Close  Pct Move
  Singapore          3163.19      3137.43         0.82
  Bangkok            1551.62      1540.8          0.70
  Manila             7281.78      7253.79         0.39
  Jakarta            5488.582     5432.381        1.03
  Kuala Lumpur       1732.65      1717.36         0.89
  Ho Chi Minh        714.6        713.14          0.20
  Change this year                                
  Market             Current      End 2016        Pct Move
  Singapore          3163.19      2880.76         9.80
  Bangkok            1551.62      1542.94         0.56
  Manila             7281.78      6840.64         6.45
  Jakarta            5488.582     5296.711        3.62
  Kuala Lumpur       1732.65      1641.73         5.54
  Ho Chi Minh        714.6        664.87          7.48
 (Reporting by Aparajita Saxena in Bengaluru; Editing by Vyas
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