May 25, 2017 / 10:21 AM / a year ago

SE Asia Stocks-Higher on Fed caution over pace of rate hikes

    By Christina Martin
    May 25 (Reuters) - Southeast Asian stock markets, except
Vietnam, closed higher on Thursday tracking gains in the broader
Asia region after the U.S. Federal Reserve signalled a cautious
approach to future rate increases.
    In minutes released on Wednesday of a Fed meeting held
earlier this month, policymakers of the U.S. central bank agreed
they should hold off on raising interest rates until they see
evidence that a recent economic slowdown was temporary.

    "The less probability of a June rate hike points to soft
growth in the United States and encourages a risk-on appetite
for investors towards high-growth emerging markets such as in
Southeast Asia," said Grace Aller, an analyst with AP
    "The U.S. GDP is a little weak, so the flows could go to
emerging markets where growth is relatively robust."
    U.S. economic growth slowed sharply in the first quarter,
with Fed policymakers seeking to understand why a measure of
underlying price gains also fell further below their 2 percent
inflation target.
    Singapore shares rose for a third straight session
before ending flat, while the Philippine index finished
0.4 percent higher, boosted by telecoms and real estate stocks. 
    "In the short- to mid-term, there won't be any solid
catalysts for the market, neither positive nor negative, unless
the situation in Mindanao escalates...," Aller said.
    On Tuesday, Philippine President Rodrigo Duterte imposed
martial law on the Mindanao island, after a fierce bout of
fighting erupted during a raid by security forces at a hideout
of Islamic State-linked militants.
    Malaysian shares gained 0.2 percent, led by
financial and consumer discretionary stocks.
    CIMB Group soared to a more than two-year closing
high, while Genting Malaysia Bhd rose 4.2 percent to
hit a record high. 
    The Thai index edged up 0.2 percent, while Indonesia
 was closed for a holiday. 
    Vietnam was down 0.1 percent, hurt by financials.
    In Asia, shares scaled two-year highs, with MSCI's broadest
index of Asia-Pacific shares outside Japan
advancing 0.9 percent as of 0954 GMT. 
For Asian Companies click;  

  Market           Current       Previous Close  Pct Move
  Singapore        3234.37       3231.24         0.10
  Bangkok          1569.41       1566.15         0.21
  Manila           7871.65       7837.82         0.43
  Kuala Lumpur     1773.96       1771.01         0.17
  Ho Chi Minh      741.91        742.74          -0.11
  Change on year                                 
  Market           Current       End 2016        Pct Move
  Singapore        3234.37       2880.76         12.27
  Bangkok          1569.41       1542.94         1.72
  Manila           7871.65       6840.64         15.07
  Kuala Lumpur     1773.96       1641.73         8.05
  Ho Chi Minh      741.91        664.87          11.59

 (Reporting by Christina Martin in Bengaluru; Editing by Biju
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