January 30, 2019 / 4:10 AM / a year ago

SE Asia Stocks-Philippines biggest loser as markets await U.S. Fed rate review

    * U.S.-China trade talks to commence
    * Philippines biggest loser in Southeast Asia
    * Malaysia trade balance data due later in the day

    By Mensholong Lepcha
    Jan 30 (Reuters) - Southeast Asian stocks were lower to
little changed, with the Philippines leading losses on
Wednesday, as investors awaited the U.S. Federal Reserve's
policy review and looked toward trade talks between Washington
and Beijing. 
    The Fed is widely expected to leave rates unchanged on
Wednesday, as policymakers had made it clear that they plan a
"patient" pause in rate hikes, after raising rates gradually
last year.
    The central bank is taking a wait-and-see approach to
further tightening in the face of a global economic slowdown,
U.S. federal government shutdown, trade tensions and waning
business and consumer confidence.
    "With the FOMC policy decision due early tomorrow morning,
market sentiments are likely to tread somewhat hesitantly while
awaiting Fed chair Powell's press conference where he may shed
some light on the intended rate trajectory and balance sheet
unwinding process from here," said OCBC Treasury Research, in a
client note.
    Sharing the limelight for the day is the start of a crucial
round of Sino-U.S. trade talks as China's Vice Premier Liu He
visits Washington. 
    People familiar with the talks and trade experts watching
the two sparring nations say that, so far, there has been little
indication that Chinese officials are willing to address core
U.S. demands to protect American intellectual property rights
and end policies that Washington says force U.S. companies to
transfer technology to Chinese firms.
    Philippine shares fell as much as 1.1 percent in
lacklustre trade to hit a one-week low on broad-based losses.
    Index heavyweights SM Investments Corp fell as much
as 1.5 percent, while BDO Unibank Inc lost as much as
2.4 percent.
    Malaysian shares fell about 0.2 percent as gains in
consumer cyclicals and industrial stocks were outweighed by
losses in utilities and financial stocks.
    Malayan Banking Bhd and Hartalega Holdings
 were the biggest drag on the index, losing as much as
1.3 percent and 1.8 percent, respectively.
    Investors now await the country's trade balance data due
later in the day. A Reuters poll showed Malaysia's exports
likely increased 2.4 percent in December from a year earlier,
while import growth is expected to slow to 1.3 percent from a
year earlier in December, after rising 5 percent the previous
    Meanwhile, Indonesian stock market climbed as much
as 0.4 percent, helped by gains in technology and utilities
For Asian Companies click;  

 Change on the day                                
 Market                 Current   Previous close  Pct Move
 Singapore              3190.86   3187.69         0.10
 Bangkok                1627.83   1624.05         0.23
 Manila                 7970.79   8050.82         -0.99
 Jakarta                6454.488  6436.48         0.28
 Kuala Lumpur           1689.26   1690.41         -0.07
 Ho Chi Minh            914.76    915.93          -0.13
 Change so far in 2019                            
 Market                 Current   End 2018        Pct Move
 Singapore              3190.86   3068.76         3.98
 Bangkok                1627.83   1563.88         4.09
 Manila                 7970.79   7,466.02        6.76
 Jakarta                6454.488  6,194.50        4.20
 Kuala Lumpur           1689.26   1690.58         -0.08
 Ho Chi Minh            914.76    892.54          2.49
 (Reporting by Mensholong Lepcha; Editing by Shreejay Sinha)
Nuestros Estándares:Los principios Thomson Reuters
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