April 23, 2018, 12:38 am
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SE Asia stocks down

Indonesian stocks dropped 1 percent on Wednesday after hitting an all-time high in the previous session, while Malaysian shares rose nearly 1 percent after three consecutive sessions of falls.

Financials drove the gains in Malaysia, with Public Bank gaining 1.7 percent and CIMB Group Holdings climbing 3.2 percent.

Malaysia’s consumer price index rose 3.4 percent in November from a year earlier, on higher transport costs, government data showed. The annual inflation rate matched the 3.4 percent forecast in a Reuters poll, and was down from the 3.7 percent recorded in October.

The Jakarta SE Composite Index was headed for its first session of fall in seven with almost all sectors in the red.

Consumer discretionary and consumer goods stocks were the biggest drags. Astra International Tbk PT dropped over 2 percent, while Unilever Indonesia Tbk PT fell 1.4 percent. 

Philippine shares were little changed after declining 0.7 percent in the previous session. Financial and real estate stocks were among the laggards, outweighing gains in telecoms.

The Philippine Stock Exchange index lost 3.35 points to close at 8,362.61.

Losers edged gainers 110 to 84 with 50 stocks unchanged.  Trading turnover reached P5.26 billion. 

Luis Limlingan, managing director at Regina Capital Development Corp., said investors are already on a holiday mood and there was not much news to trade on. 

“Philippine markets were flat even though the TRAIN has been signed into law, most investors are on the sidelines already enjoying the holidays. There wasn’t much marker making activity with US indices closing slightly lower Tuesday as the Congress finally passed a bill that allows sweeping corporate tax cuts. However, the process hit a procedural snag at market close, forcing the House to vote again on the package later today,” he said.

Metropolitan Bank and Trust Co dropped 1.2 percent and Security Bank Corp declined 0.8 percent, while PLDT Inc rose 2.1 percent.

Thai shares hit their highest in nearly 24 years in choppy trade and were last up 0.1 percent.

Consumer staples and telecom stocks helped the market gain.

Siam Makro PCL was the top gainer, rising 5.3 percent.

Thailand’s central bank is expected to leave its benchmark interest rate near record lows on Wednesday, as economic growth picks up, inflation is still tame and high household debt remains a worry.

Thai Prime Minister Prayuth Chan-ocha said on Tuesday he would use a special order that gives the military sweeping powers to allow political parties to prepare for next year’s general election. – Reuters 
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