September 19, 2019 / 10:02 AM / a month ago

SE Asia Stocks-Most markets close lower after guarded Fed outlook

    * Thailand top loser; energy, telecom drag 
    * Indonesia central bank lowers rates
    * Weak palm oil prices hurt Malaysian stocks

    By Anushka Trivedi
    Sept 19 (Reuters) - Most Southeast Asian stock markets
closed lower on Thursday, with Thailand leading the pack, after
the U.S. Federal Reserve thwarted hopes of further policy
easing.
    The Fed dished out a widely expected quarter-point rate cut
on Wednesday but was decidedly hawkish in its tone, with Chair
Jerome Powell describing the rate cut as an "insurance against
ongoing risks" that includes stagnancy in global growth and
longstanding trade tensions.
    "The ultimate problem with this type of Federal Open Market
Committee dispersion model is that it's confusing, which means
more uncertainty, and uncertainty is going to lead to risk
reduction," said Stephen Innes, Asia Pacific market strategist
at AxiTrader.
    Thai shares extended falls into a second session and
closed at a three-week low, with energy and telecom stocks
accounting for most of the losses. 
    Weak oil prices pushed state-run energy company PTT PCL
 1.1% lower, while telecom services provider Advanced
Info Service PCL dropped 2.2%.
    Indonesian shares fell 0.5% as an interest rate cut
by the central bank failed to lift sentiment.
    Bank Indonesia delivered a widely expected 25 basis point
rate cut but warned of its economy taking a hit from the global
economic slowdown, and said it expected 2019 growth below the
midpoint of 5%-5.4%.
    "A slight hawkish future stance of the Fed contributed to
the pullback, also market seems unmoved despite a 25 bp rate
cut," said Anugerah Zamzami Nasr, an equity research analyst at
PT Phillip Sekuritas Indonesia.
    "We suspect that despite lower inflation and resilient
external balance, Indonesian economic growth could be sluggish
for the rest of the year and might need other non-monetary
stimulus." 
    Resources and telecom stocks were among the top losers, with
heavyweight PT Telekomunikasi Indonesia Tbk dipping
0.9%. 
    Kenanga Group analysts see top-line weakness in the second
half for the company as changes in its product pricing are
expected to lead to lower average revenue per user.     
    Malaysian shares closed 0.2% lower, dragged by
consumer and healthcare stocks.
    A decline in palm oil prices weighed on companies such as
Sime Darby Plantation Bhd and IOI Corp Bhd,
while hospital operator IHH Healthcare shed 1.7%.
       
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SOUTHEAST ASIAN STOCK MARKETS
    
 Change on the day                               
 Market                 Current  Previous close  Pct Move
 Singapore              3158.8   3166.84         -0.25
 Bangkok                1640.66  1654.14         -0.81
 Manila                 7911.32  7915.29         -0.05
 Jakarta                6244.47  6276.633        -0.51
 Kuala Lumpur           1596.28  1599.49         -0.20
 Ho Chi Minh            997.1    995.15          0.20
                                                 
 Change so far in 2019                           
 Market                 Current  End 2018        Pct Move
 Singapore              3158.8   3068.76         2.93
 Bangkok                1640.66  1563.88         4.91
 Manila                 7911.32  7,466.02        5.96
 Jakarta                6244.47  6,194.50        0.81
 Kuala Lumpur           1596.28  1690.58         -5.58
 Ho Chi Minh            997.1    892.54          11.71
 
 (Reporting by Anushka Trivedi in Bengaluru; Editing by
Subhranshu Sahu)
  
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