SE Asia stocks sluggish after Yellen comments
NEW YORK, Oct 17 — South-east Asian stock markets were sluggish today, in line with broader Asia as investors digested comments by US Federal Reserve Chair Janet Yellen.
Yellen said on Friday the Fed may need to run a “high-pressure” economy in order to reverse damage from the global financial crisis that depressed output.
Her remarks, however, did not address immediate policy concerns directly and didn’t change prevailing views that the Fed is likely to raise interest rates in December.
MSCI’s broadest index of Asia-Pacific shares outside Japan dropped 0.4 per cent.
Thai stocks were marginally higher after losing as much as 1 per cent in early trade. The index declined 1.8 per cent last week on concerns about King Bhumibol Adulyadej’s health. The king passed away on Thursday.
Foreigners were net sellers in the previous four sessions.
They also cut their holdings in Thai bonds during the period and became net buyers as of early today, according to data from the Thai Bond Market Association.
Financials and industrials fell the most, with Kasikornbank Pcl losing 4.8 per cent on weaker loan growth target for 2017.
Singapore shares fell as much as 0.8 per cent in early trade after data showed September exports declined less than expected, though a grim outlook for the economy prevailed.
Losses were driven by financials and industrials, the biggest sectors on the main index.
Realtors CapitaLand Commercial Trust and UOL Ltd were among the biggest losers.
Philippine stocks rose 0.3 per cent, heading for a second consecutive session of gains, with telecoms and industrials providing support.
Globe Telecom and Ayala Corp were among the biggest gainers, rising 2.4 per cent and 1.8 per cent respectively.
Malaysian and Vietnamese shares posted minor losses, while Indonesian shares recorded paltry gains as investors shrugged off trade data that showed exports and imports contracted on a yearly basis in September against expectations for import growth. — Reuters