Stocks

Southeast Asian stocks down as investors await Fed statement

Reuters Bangkok | Updated on January 24, 2018 Published on March 18, 2015

Most Southeast Asian stock markets fell on Wednesday as investors waited for the Fed policy statement for clues on US interest rates, with the Indonesian benchmark heading for its first drop in three days, while the Thai index rebounded as dividend-yielding stocks led the pack.

The Jakarta composite index traded down 0.4 per cent after rising for a second session on Tuesday on expectation that the central bank would keep benchmark interest rates steady.

Astra International eased 0.3 per cent and Bank Tabungan Negara dropped 2.2 per cent after climbing in the previous session.

Market players appeared cutting risk positions in other markets.

Stocks in the Philippines slipped 0.4 per cent and Singapore was 0.2 per cent lower. Vietnam edged down 0.5 per cent after Tuesday’s rise.

Asian stocks shook off a slow start and rose, led by China shares, while the dollar marked time as markets waited for the Federal Reserve’s policy statement for clues to when US interest rates will rise.

Market players are concerned the Fed will change its forward guidance by omitting the word ‘patient’ as this could indicate it will begin raising interest rates soon, brokers said.

In Bangkok, bargain-hunting was active in dividend-yielding stocks such as Krung Thai Bank, which carry a forward dividend yield of 4.6 per cent versus 4.1 percent of the industry, Thomson Reuters Eikon data showed.

The benchmark SET index climbed 1.1 per cent, its first in four days, with its 14-day relative strength index (RSI) rebounding to 37.5 from 31.2 on Tuesday, close to an oversold territory of 30 or below. The broader market remained relatively cautious, brokers said.

“For short-term strategy, it is best to play wait and see ahead of the US FOMC meeting outcome tonight and until the SET index builds a strong base,’’ strategists at broker Phillip Securities wrote in a report.

Published on March 18, 2015
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