SE Asia Stocks-Philippine shares rise; more rate hikes seen after Aug inflation

Fri Sep 5, 2014 3:21am EDT

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BANGKOK, Sept 5 (Reuters) - Philippine shares scaled a fresh
15-month high on Friday, heading for the best weekly gain since
April, as a higher-than-expected monthly inflation spurred
expectations of possible interest rate hikes, boosting financial
stocks.
    Data released early on Friday showed core inflation in the
Philippines quickened to a 17-month high in August, reinforcing
views the central bank is likely to tighten policy rates again
at next week's meeting to rein in growing inflation pressures.
 
    "Faster core with or without base effect supports our rate
hike forecast in next week's Monetary Board meeting," said Citi
Research in a report.
    The Philippine stock index was up 0.7 percent at
7,254.57, climbing at one point to 7,264.87, the highest level
since May 27, 2013. Shares of Metro Pacific Investments Corp
 and BDO Unibank Inc were among outperformers.
    The index is on track to post a weekly gain of about 3
percent, the highest since the week ended April 4.
    In Bangkok, investors bought banks such as Siam Commercial
Bank and Bangkok Bank, with brokers citing the
benefits of recoveries in domestic economy and more stable
political situation.
    The key SET index was 0.07 percent higher by midday,
on track for a weekly gain of 1.5 percent, rising for the fifth
straight week.
    Selling by domestic trigger funds, which redeem when the
index hits a target level, could limit any strong market rally,
brokers said.
    "Local institutional investors may continue to lock in
recent gains. The SET upside may be limited, despite positive
news flow from Europe," strategists of broker KGI Securities
said in a report.
    The European Central Bank (ECB) cut interest rates to a
record low on Thursday and launched a new scheme to push money
into the flagging euro zone economy, surprising markets and
leaving open the option of more to come. 
    Reaction on ECB stimulus was mixed, with stocks in Singapore
 and Malaysia drifting into negative territory
while Indonesia and Vietnam posted modest gains.
    MSCI's broadest index of Asia-Pacific shares outside Japan
 eased back 0.6 percent, having already reached
its loftiest level since early 2008. 
    
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SOUTHEAST ASIAN STOCK MARKETS
 Change at 0639 GMT
 Market             Current     Prev Close    Pct Move
 TR SE Asia Index*   446.01        446.79       -0.17
 Singapore          3327.23       3346.34       -0.57
 Kuala Lumpur       1867.38       1869.21       -0.09
 Bangkok            1580.80       1579.73       +0.07
 Jakarta            5211.40       5205.32       +0.12
 Manila             7252.77       7204.11       +0.68
 Ho Chi Minh         641.71        640.22       +0.23
 * The Thomson Reuters South East Asia Index is a
highly representative indicator of stocks listed in Indonesia,
Malaysia, the Philippines, Singapore, Thailand and Vietnam.   

 (Reporting by Kaweewit Kaewjinda and Viparat Jantraprap;
Editing by Anand Basu)
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