July 18, 2018 / 10:03 AM / a month ago

SE Asia Stocks-Climb on U.S. Fed Chief's testimony; Vietnam up 2.3 pct

    * Philippines adds nearly 1 percent
    * Fed chief's testimony driving markets - analyst

    By Karthika Suresh Namboothiri
    July 18 (Reuters) - Southeast Asian stock markets ended
higher on Wednesday, with the Philippines closing at an over
one-month high and Vietnam gaining over 2 percent, as a bullish
outlook from the U.S. Federal Reserve chairman lifted sentiment
in the region.
    Fed Chairman Jerome Powell expressed an optimistic view
about the U.S. economy while softening the impact of global
trade risks on the outlook for rate rises.
    "Today's market trend is largely being driven by Powell's
confirmation of gradually raising interest rates," said Taye
Shim, head of research at Jakarta-based Mirae Asset Sekuritas.
    "This is exactly what the market was looking for."
    Philippine shares climbed nearly 1 percent to their
highest close in more than one month.
    Real estate company Ayala Land was up 2.9 percent,
while Ayala Corp gained 2.7 percent.
    Singapore stocks gained marginally, boosted by the
real estate sector. CapitaLand Ltd rose 1.3 percent.
    Malaysia shares climbed for an eighth straight
session, up 0.9 percent, to their highest close in over a month.
    CIMB Group Holdings was up 3.2 percent, while
telecom company Axiata Group Bhd rose 4 percent.
    Malaysia's annual inflation rate slowed to its lowest in
more than three years in June, after the government abolished a
goods and services tax.
    Thai shares rose, buoyed by gains in the energy
sector. PTT Public Co jumped 3.7 percent and IRPC
Public Co was up 4.2 percent.
    The Vietnamese index jumped 2.3 percent to mark an
over two-week closing high. Petrovietnam Gas Joint Stock Corp
 ended 5.1 percent higher.
    Indonesian shares gained 0.5 percent, with Bank
Central Asia up 2.1 percent and Telekom Indonesia
 climbing 1.8 percent.
    The central bank in Southeast Asia's largest economy is
expected to take a pause in its monetary tightening cycle on
Thursday, a Reuters poll showed.
    "Indonesian market is vulnerable to external factors and
solution is out of their control, meaning they can only use
domestic measures to stabilise the economy. They're using
interest rates to minimise the external impact," Shim said.
    
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SOUTHEAST ASIAN STOCK MARKETS
 Change on the day                            
 Market             Current   Previous close  Pct Move
 Singapore          3240.5    3239.64         0.03
 Bangkok            1635.85   1626.07         0.60
 Manila             7451.37   7381.68         0.94
 Jakarta            5890.731  5861.508        0.50
 Kuala Lumpur       1753.07   1737.28         0.91
 Ho Chi Minh        942.39    921.27          2.29
                                              
 Change on year                               
 Market             Current   End 2017        Pct Move
 Singapore          3240.5    3402.92         -4.77
 Bangkok            1635.85   1753.71         -6.72
 Manila             7451.37   8558.42         -12.94
 Jakarta            5890.731  6355.654        -7.32
 Kuala Lumpur       1753.07   1796.81         -2.43
 Ho Chi Minh        942.39    984.24          -4.25
 
 (Reporting by Karthika Suresh Namboothiri in Bengaluru;
Additional reporting by Syed Saif Hussain Naqvi; Editing by
Sunil Nair)
  
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