January 19, 2017 / 4:08 AM / a year ago

SE Asia Stocks-Wary on Yellen's rate hike signal, Trump inauguration

By Krishna V Kurup
    Jan 19 (Reuters) - Southeast Asian stock markets were
guarded on Thursday after Federal Reserve Chair Janet Yellen
signalled faster interest rate increases in 2017, and as
investors remained anxious ahead of U.S. President-elect Trump's
inauguration on Friday.
    The dollar inched up against major peers early on Thursday
after Yellen said on Wednesday that waiting too long to begin
raising rates could "risk a nasty surprise down the road," and
that it "makes sense" for the Fed to gradually lift rates.
    Investors are generally optimistic about stock market
returns over the next six months, according to a UBS survey, but
the potential fallout of Trump's protectionist stance has also
unnerved some.  
    Yellen's bullish comments overnight strengthened the dollar,
and "the gains at their end spilled over into Asian markets",
said Victor Felix, an analyst with AB Capital Securities in
    "Most of the uncertainties for the week, except for Trump's
inauguration on Friday, have already materialized, so investors
are now just waiting for that one event," he said.
    Philippine shares gained the most in the region,
rising 0.7 percent, supported by consumer staples and
    The index rose for a second straight session and touched its
biggest intra-day percentage gain in more than a week.
    "There is really not much material news to work on in the
Philippines market, so the weak gains in the market are
insignificant," Felix said.
    Beverage maker Universal Robina Corp and
Metropolitan Bank and Trust Co were up 2 percent each.
    Thailand shares were slightly down, with banks and
consumer staple stocks losing the most.
    Siam Commercial Bank PCL, the country's
third-largest lender by assets, fell 0.6 percent, while top
convenience store chain CP All PCL shed 1.7 percent.
    Stocks in Vietnam, Singapore, Malaysia 
and Indonesia were largely muted, while MSCI's broadest
index of Asia-Pacific shares outside Japan was
0.4 percent down at 0340 GMT. 
    For Asian Companies click;  

  Market           Current       Prev close   Pct Move
  Singapore        3004.48       3000.22      0.14
  Bangkok          1558.75       1560.83      -0.13
  Manila           7209.16       7156.36      0.74
  Jakarta          5301.424      5294.784     0.13
  Kuala Lumpur     1664.21       1665.02      -0.05
  Ho Chi Minh      684.08        683.28       0.12
  Change on year                              
  Market           Current       End 2016     Pct Move
  Singapore        3004.48       2880.76      4.29
  Bangkok          1558.75       1542.94      1.02
  Manila           7209.16       6952.08      3.70
  Jakarta          5301.424      5296.711     0.09
  Kuala Lumpur     1664.21       1641.73      1.37
  Ho Chi Minh      684.08        672.01       1.80
 (Reporting by Krishna V Kurup in Bengaluru; Additional
reporting by Sandhya Sampath; Editing by Sunil Nair)
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