August 17, 2017 / 4:32 AM / a year ago

SE Asia Stocks-Inch higher as investors cheer Fed caution on rates

    By Urvashi Goenka
    Aug 17 (Reuters) - Most Southeast Asian stock markets edged
up on Thursday after investors took heart from the minutes of a
U.S. Federal Reserve meeting that showed policymakers wary about
weak inflation, indicating that the Fed may slow the pace of
rate increases. 
     Fed policymakers unanimously decided to keep interest rates
unchanged at their July 25-26 meeting, the readout of which
showed that it was marked by a lengthy discussion about the
recent soft inflation readings, with some even calling for a
halt to interest rate hikes until it was clear that the trend
was transitory. 
    The U.S. central bank's preferred inflation measure has
remained below its 2 percent target for more than five
    The markets are reacting to the Fed minutes which are
favourable for the regional markets, said Lexter Azurin, a
senior analyst with Manila-based AB Capital Securities. 
    Philippine shares rose as much as 0.7 percent, on
course for a fourth session of gains, helped by real estate and
financial stocks. Security Bank Corp rose as much as
2.8 percent, while Ayala Land gained 1.2 percent.
    "Markets are basically reacting to the second-quarter GDP
figures. So, right now the local markets are trying to digest
the figures," Azurin said.
    The Philippines economy grew a faster-than-expected 6.5
percent in the second quarter from a year earlier, driven by a
strong industrial sector and a recovery in agriculture.

    Thailand and Malaysia were up slightly,
while Indonesia was closed for holiday.
    Singapore fell as much as 0.6 percent, extending
losses for a third straight day, led by financials and telecom
    United Overseas Bank, down as much as 1.3 percent,
hit its lowest in more than a month.
For Asian Companies click;  

  Change on day                                       
  Market          Current       previous     Pct Move
  Singapore       3264.87       3278.95      -0.43
  Bangkok         1567.65       1567.52      0.01
  Manila          8076.95       8046.59      0.38
  Kuala Lumpur    1774.9        1773.75      0.06
  Ho Chi Minh     771.76        773.57       -0.23
  Change on year                             
  Market          Current       End 2016     Pct Move
  Singapore       3264.87       2880.76      13.33
  Bangkok         1567.65       1542.94      1.60
  Manila          8076.95       6840.64      18.1
  Kuala Lumpur    1774.9        1641.73      8.11
  Ho Chi Minh     771.76        664.87       16.1
 (Reporting by Urvashi Goenka; Editing by Biju Dwarakanath)
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