May 24, 2017 / 10:24 AM / in a year

SE Asia Stocks-Brush aside China downgrade to inch up; Fed minutes in focus

    By Christina Martin
    May 24 (Reuters) - Most Southeast Asian stock markets
shrugged off Moody's downgrade of its sovereign credit rating on
China to edge up on Wednesday, focusing instead on what the
minutes of a U.S. Federal Reserve meeting would say on its rate
hike trajectory.
    The minutes of the U.S. central bank's latest policy meeting
is scheduled to be released at 1800 GMT, with Fed funds futures
showing that traders now see a 75 percent chance the Fed will
raise interest rates at its June meeting. 
    "Regional markets are also awaiting the FOMC (Federal Open
Market Committee) minutes, which will give some signal and
confirmation with regards to the movement of the Fed in the next
few months," said Lexter Azurin, a senior analyst at
Manila-based AB Capital Securities. 
    Earlier in the day, China's benchmark stock indexes
 fell more than 1 percent after Moody's Investors
Services cut the country's debt ratings, citing expectations
that the financial strength of the world's second-biggest
economy would erode over the coming years. The indexes later
recouped most of the losses to close nearly unchanged.

    Asia-Pacific stocks ex-Japan also tracked
Chinese markets to trade 0.3 percent lower initially, but
reversed losses to nudge up later in the day.
    In Southeast Asia, Philippine shares finished 0.3
percent higher, their fourth straight day of gains, helped by
real estate stocks and consumer staples. 
    Ayala Land gained 2.2 percent, while food
processing company Universal Robina Corp hit a near
two-week high. 
    Singapore shares climbed 0.3 percent by the close of
trade, boosted by financials and industrials, while Malaysia
 posted a marginal increase. 
    Thailand was little changed after the central bank
left its key interest rate where it has been for more than two
years, saying the 1.50 percent level continues to support
economic recovery.
    Indonesia shares however closed 0.5 percent lower,
their third consecutive session of losses, dragged down by
financials and consumer staples, with an index of the 45 most
liquid stocks down 0.6 percent. 
    "The (China) downgrade has pulled (Indonesia's) overall
sentiment towards the negative side... It's also some
profit-taking," said Elvira Tjandrawinata, head of Indonesia
equity research at Nomura Securities. 
    Bank Rakyat Indonesia (Persero) Tbk PT lost 2.3
percent, while consumer goods manufacturer Unilever Indonesia
Tbk PT dropped nearly 2 percent.
For Asian Companies click;  

  Market           Current   Previous Close  Pct Move
  Singapore        3231.24   3222.69         0.27
  Bangkok          1566.15   1564.69         0.09
  Manila           7837.82   7812.14         0.33
  Jakarta          5703.433  5730.613        -0.47
  Kuala Lumpur     1771.01   1767.17         0.22
  Ho Chi Minh      742.74    740.93          0.24
  Change on year                             
  Market           Current   End 2016        Pct Move
  Singapore        3231.24   2880.76         12.17
  Bangkok          1566.15   1542.94         1.50
  Manila           7837.82   6840.64         14.58
  Jakarta          5703.433  5296.711        7.68
  Kuala Lumpur     1771.01   1641.73         7.87
  Ho Chi Minh      742.74    664.87          11.71

 (Reporting by Christina Martin; Editing by Biju Dwarakanath)
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