May 31, 2016 / 5:11 AM / 2 years ago

CORRECTED-SE Asia Stocks-Cautious ahead of U.S. econ data, Yellen's speech next week

(Corrects paragraph 1 to show U.S. inflation, jobs data due
this week, not next week)
    By Aparajita Saxena
    May 31 (Reuters) - Southeast Asian stocks were largely
cautious on Tuesday as investors waited for cues from U.S.
inflation and employment data this week, the two most important
indicators for a "data-dependent" U.S. Federal Reserve.
    Investors will also be keeping a keen eye out for Fed chair
Janet Yellen's speech in Philadelphia on Monday for clarity over
whether rates would be increased as early as June. On Friday,
Yellen said that if current economic conditions hold, a rate
hike over the next few months would be "appropriate."
    While Fed policymakers will be looking at inflation and jobs
data as they decide whether to raise key interest rates as soon
as June, traders will read through them to try and get ahead of
the Fed decision. 
    "We're not expecting markets to react badly to the interest
rate hike, the way they did last year. Investors are comfortable
and are getting a clearer picture of the trajectory of a Fed
rate hike, so there will be less surprises in the markets this
time, and less sudden movements," said Grace Aller, an analyst
at Manila-based AP Securities.
    "The underlying message from a Fed rate hike is that global
economies are recovering, and that sits well with investors. We
expect markets to move sideways until then."
    Singapore was up, underpinned by financial stocks.
Oversea-Chinese Banking Corp and United Overseas Bank
Ltd were among the top percentage gainers.
    Oil and gas stocks also rose, tracking an increase in oil
prices which were up toward $50 barrel on Monday. 
    Sembcorp Marine and Keppel Corp were up
1.29 percent and 0.91 percent, respectively.
    Vietnam rose 0.9 percent, led by gains in utilities and
    Indonesia however fell, snapping four days of gains,
dragged down by financials.
    "Expect some technical correction on JCI today after a 2
percent rally since the last 5 days," said Trimegah Securities
in a note.
    Malaysia slipped for a second straight day, with
CIMB Group Bhd losing the most on the index.

For Asian Companies click;  
  STOCK MARKETS                                              
  Change at 0502 GMT                                         
  Market              Current       Previous close  Pct Move
  Singapore           2825.15       2796.75         1.02
  Bangkok             1422.78       1424.12         -0.09
  Manila              7492.32       7464.34         0.37
  Jakarta             4814.096      4836.033        -0.45
  Kuala Lumpur        1626.31       1629.87         -0.22
  Ho Chi Minh         619.92        614.5           0.88
  Change on year                                    
  Market              Current       End 2015        Pct Move
  Singapore           2825.15       2882.73         -2.00
  Bangkok             1422.78       1288.02         10.46
  Manila              7492.32       6952.08         7.77
  Jakarta             4814.096      4593.008        4.81
  Kuala Lumpur        1626.31       1692.51         -3.91
  Ho Chi Minh         619.92        579.03          7.06

 (Reporting by Aparajita Saxena; Editing by Biju Dwarakanath)
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