March 22, 2018 / 10:33 AM / a year ago

SE Asia Stocks-Philippines surges most in 15 months, keeps rate steady

    * Manila closes 2.7 pct higher after 3 sessions of drops
    * Vietnam rises for ninth session to record close
    * Indonesia falls 0.9 pct, down for 7th session in 8

    By Aaron Saldanha
    March 22 (Reuters) - Philippine shares surged 2.7 percent on
Thursday, the most since December 2016, as the central bank
maintained its key rate and the U.S. Federal Reserve's rate
outlook for 2018 was seen as less hawkish than expected.
    Bangko Sentral ng Pilipinas kept the benchmark interest rate
unchanged at 3 percent on Thursday and said it expected
inflation to remain within its target for this year and next.

    The Fed raised its interest rate on Wednesday and reiterated
two more rate increases this year, signalling caution in its
monetary policy tightening pace.
    The Fed's outlook for a total of three rate increases for
2018 helps retain the allure of higher yielding assets in
emerging markets, which would have reduced had more rates hikes
been predicted.   
    The Philippine Stock Exchange PSEI Index closed
higher for the first time in four sessions. 
    While all sectors rose, real estate and industrial stocks
contributed the most to the main index's gain. SM Investments
Corp jumped 5.3 percent, while Ayala Land Inc
gained 5.5 percent.
    The benchmark stock index declined in six sessions of the
seven through Wednesday, shedding a total 6.4 percent.
    Indonesian shares fell 0.9 percent, making them the
biggest losers in Southeast Asia. Most sectors ended in the
negative territory with financials and consumer staples weighing
heavily on the benchmark.
    Holding firm Sinar Mas Multiartha dropped 9.1
percent, while an index of the country's 45 most liquid stocks
 declined 1.1 percent.
    Vietnam shares rose for a ninth straight session and
posted an all-time closing high.
    Utilities and consumer staples were among the top gainers
with Petrovietnam Gas Joint Stock Corp rising 5.2
    The benchmark stock index has risen more than 19 percent so
far in 2018 after a 48 percent jump last year.
    Malaysian shares gained 0.6 percent, helped by
financials and consumer staples. Malayan Banking Bhd
gained 2.5 percent.    
    Singapore shares declined 0.6 percent, weighed down
by financials, with Oversea-Chinese Banking Corp Ltd
shedding 1.2 percent.
For Asian Companies click;  

  Market                  Current   Previous close  Pct
  Singapore               3491.37   3511.13         -0.56
  Bangkok                 1798.55   1801.43         -0.16
  Manila                  8124.45   7909.07         2.72
  Jakarta                 6254.074  6312.831        -0.93
  Kuala Lumpur            1876.87   1865.8          0.59
 Ho Chi Minh              1172.36   1169.36         0.26
  Change so far in 2018                             
  Market                  Current   End 2017        Pct
  Singapore               3491.37   3402.92         2.60
  Bangkok                 1798.55   1753.71         2.56
  Manila                  8124.45   8558.42         -5.07
  Jakarta                 6254.074  6355.654        -1.60
  Kuala Lumpur            1876.87   1796.81         4.46
  Ho Chi Minh             1172.36   984.24          19.11
 (Reporting by Aaron Saldanha in Bengaluru; Editing by
Subhranshu Sahu)
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