July 21, 2016 / 10:22 AM / 2 years ago

SE Asia Stocks-Lower ahead of ECB meeting; Philippines hits 15-mth closing high

By Aparajita Saxena
    July 21 (Reuters) - Most Southeast Asian stocks closed lower
on Thursday as investor risk appetite remained subdued ahead of
a crucial policy meeting by the European Central Bank and the
release of U.S. jobless claims data later in the day.
    "The outcome of the ECB meeting, along with data from the
U.S., will set the tone for economic growth," said Alex Tiu, an
analyst with AB Capital Securities Inc in Manila. 
    ECB policymakers meeting in Frankfurt must consider a list
of concerns including the impact of Britain's vote to leave the
European Union, a potential Italian banking crisis and
suggestions the ECB is running out of policy ammunition.
    While the ECB is seen standing pat on policy, the market
expects the central bank to hint at future monetary policy
easing, forecast to come as early as September. 
    Indonesian shares closed 0.5 percent lower,
surrendering initial gains, after its central bank held current
and future benchmark rates unchanged on Thursday, against market
expectations for another cut. 
    "Markets were expecting a rate cut today, and are reacting
out of disappointment. There was also some profit-taking and
residual reaction to the tax amnesty bill," said Elvira
Tjandrawinata, analyst with Nomura Indonesia.
    "A mix of these factors drove the markets down today."
    Indonesia's new tax amnesty programme aims to bring home
billions of dollars citizens have parked overseas.
    Malaysia finished 0.7 percent lower, the biggest
percentage loser in the region, with consumer cyclicals dragging
down the index.
    Genting Bhd and IHH Healthcare Bhd were
down 3.9 percent and 1.8 percent, respectively.
    Philippine shares however recovered from initial
losses to end up 0.6 percent, its highest close in 15 months.
    "We see local and foreign investor confidence getting a
boost from expectations that the Philippine economy will
continue to outperform its peers. This should hopefully reflect
in corporate performance," said Philippine Stock Exchange
President and CEO Hans B. Sicat after the index hit the highest
since April 2015.
    Energy stocks such as Aboitiz Power Corp and Petron
Corp were among the biggest percentage gainers on the
    Singapore closed marginally lower, with Keppel Corp
 among the biggest percentage losers after it reported
a 48 percent fall in quarterly net profit. 
    Thai stocks closed down 0.4 percent, while Vietnam
 ended slightly lower.
    For Asian Companies click;  

  STOCK MARKETS                                           
  Change on day                                           
  Market           Current       Previous Close  Pct Move
  Singapore        2940.48       2945.74         -0.18
  Bangkok          1503.95       1510.03         -0.40
  Manila           8102.3        8051.97         0.63
  Jakarta          5216.973      5242.823        -0.49
  Kuala Lumpur     1657.54       1669.61         -0.72
  Ho Chi Minh      659.57        660.26          -0.10
  Change on year                                 
  Market           Current       End 2015        Pct Move
  Singapore        2940.48       2882.73         2.00
  Bangkok          1503.95       1288.02         16.76
  Manila           8102.3        6952.08         16.54
  Jakarta          5216.973      4593.008        13.59
  Kuala Lumpur     1657.54       1692.51         -2.07
  Ho Chi Minh      659.57        579.03          13.91
 (Reporting by Aparajita Saxena; Editing by Biju Dwarakanath)
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