July 29, 2019 / 10:10 AM / 2 months ago

SE Asia Stocks-Most decline ahead of Fed policy meeting

    * Singapore leads losses
    * Indonesia at 5-week low
    * Thai markets closed for holiday

    By Anushka Trivedi
    July 29 (Reuters) - Most Southeast Asian stock markets fell
on Monday, with Singapore leading losses, as investors trimmed
their exposure in risky assets a day before the key U.S. Federal
Reserve policy meeting.
    A 25 bps cut by the U.S. central bank is all but confirmed,
with the market's focus now on cues from Fed chairman Jerome
Powell’s guidance about the easing cycle.
    "The improved U.S. GDP data does not change the forecast on
that (the 25 bps rate cut), but it does reduce the probability
of a potential 50 bps (cut) and the number of rate-cuts for the
rest of 2019" said Alfonso Esparza, a senior market analyst at
OANDA.
    Singapore's main board slipped 0.5% to a near
three-week low on weakness in financials.
    Earlier in the day, Southeast Asia's biggest lender DBS
Group Holdings Ltd's second-quarter profit topped
expectations. But analysts see a tough road ahead for the
city-state's banks due to a recent slowdown in the country's
economy and a drop in interest rates.
    DBS lost 0.9%, whereas rivals Oversea-Chinese Banking Corp
Ltd and United Overseas Bank Ltd, which are
due to report earnings later this week, shed 0.4% and 0.7%,
respectively. 
     Indonesian shares declined 0.4% to their lowest in
over a month, with losses concentrated in the consumer sector.
    Share prices of local cigarette makers have declined since
the launch of U.S.-based e-cigarette brand Juul in Indonesia in
early-July. Heavyweight PT Hanjaya Mandala Sampoerna Tbk
 has dropped 10.2% since July 10.
    "We estimate that 3-5% of the cigarette market is at risk of
competition from e-cigarettes in the medium term, mainly in the
higher-priced mild and white segments" Janni Asman, analyst at
Maybank Kim Eng Sekuritas said.
    Elsewhere, Philippine stocks ended flat, while the
Thai stock market was closed for a holiday.

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SOUTHEAST ASIAN STOCK MARKETS
 Change on the day                                
 Market                 Current   Previous close  Pct Move
 Singapore              3346.39   3363.76         -0.52
 Bangkok                                          
 Manila                 8188.52   8183.99         0.06
 Jakarta                6299.035  6325.237        -0.41
 Kuala Lumpur           1642.69   1647.96         -0.32
 Ho Chi Minh            997.94    993.35          0.46
                                                  
 Change so far in 2019                            
 Market                 Current   End 2018        Pct Move
 Singapore              3346.39   3068.76         9.05
 Bangkok                1717.97   1563.88         9.85
 Manila                 8188.52   7,466.02        9.68
 Jakarta                6299.035  6,194.50        1.69
 Kuala Lumpur           1642.69   1690.58         -2.83
 Ho Chi Minh            997.94    892.54          11.81
 
 (Reporting by Anushka Trivedi in Bengaluru; editing by
Uttaresh.V)
  
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