November 18, 2016 / 5:21 AM / 2 years ago

SE Asia Stocks-Largely lower as U.S. rate hike prospects grow

By Sindhu Chandrasekaran
    Nov 18 (Reuters) - Most Southeast Asian stock markets fell
on Friday, in line with boarder Asia, after U.S. Federal Reserve
Chair Janet Yellen's comments bolstered the case for a hike in
interest rates next month.
     The Fed could raise interest rates "relatively soon" if
economic data keeps pointing to an improving labor market and
rising inflation, Yellen said before the Congressional Joint
Economic Committee on Thursday. 
     Prospects for a rate hike also got a boost from U.S.
government data showing that initial claims for state
unemployment benefits hit a 43-year low last week. 
     In addition, U.S. consumer prices recorded their biggest
increase in six months in October on rising gasoline costs and
rents, suggesting a pickup in inflation. 
    "The evidence we have seen since we met in November is
consistent with our expectation of strengthening growth and
improving labor markets and inflation moving up," Yellen said.
"The risk of falling behind the curve in the near future appears
    Indonesia led the fall in the region, shedding as
much as 0.6 percent, hurt by healthcare and utility stocks.
    "We expect a technical correction to JCI (Jakarta Composite
Index) for today. JCI trading range at support-resistance
5,140-5,215," brokerage Trimegah Securities said in a note.
     Hospital operator PT Mitra Keluarga Karyasehat Tbk
 slipped 3.5 percent while natural gas distributor PT
Perusahaan Gas Negara (Persero) Tbk fell 1.7 percent.
    "The key thing dominating each market in Asia today is
Yellen's speech overnight in which she sent a very strong
message based on the Dec. 14 Fed meeting... we will have no
clear trend overall in Asia until we see the Fed decision," said
Rakpong Chaisuparakul, an analyst with KGI Securities in
    Thailand stocks fell 0.3 percent, on track for a
third straight session of losses, pulled down by industrials,
with Siam Cement Pcl falling 1.3 percent.
    Malaysia dropped 0.4 percent, with financials
leading the losses. Malayan Banking Berhad fell 0.5
    Bucking the trend, Singapore rose 0.6 percent to its
highest in one week, helped by industrials. Jardine Matheson
Holdings Ltd rose 1.7 percent.
    Vietnam fell 0.4 percent, while Philippines 
gained marginally.
  Market          Current      previous    Pct Move
  Singapore       2830.78      2813.48     0.61
  Bangkok         1470.04      1473.85     -0.26
  Manila          7052.96      7050.12     0.04
  Jakarta         5155.089     5193.015    -0.73
  Kuala Lumpur    1620.8       1626.77     -0.37
  Ho Chi Minh     671.72       674.57      -0.42
  Change this                              
  Market          Current      End 2015    Pct Move
  Singapore       2830.78      2882.73     -1.80
  Bangkok         1470.04      1288.02     14.13
  Manila          7052.96      6952.08     1.45
  Jakarta         5155.089     4593.008    12.24
  Kuala Lumpur    1620.8       1692.51     -4.24
 Ho Chi Minh      671.72       579.03      16.01
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 (Reporting by Sindhu Chandrasekaran; Editing by Amrutha
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