SE Asian stocks gain after Trump remark on Fed rate policy

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BENGALURU (Aug 21): Southeast Asian stock markets notched up modest gains on Tuesday, with Indonesia hitting a one-week high, after US President Donald Trump said he was "not thrilled" with the Federal Reserve for hiking interest rates.

In an interview to Reuters on Monday, Trump expressed his displeasure with the Fed Chairman Jerome Powell for raising interest rates and added that the US central bank should instead do more to help boost the world's largest economy.

Asian stocks were trading higher, tracking overnight strength on Wall Street, though gains were capped on caution ahead of the minutes of the Fed meeting expected to be released on Wednesday.

Asian shares ex-Japan were up 0.6%.

The Jakarta index rose for a second straight session led by consumer stocks. Unilever Indonesia and Charoen Pokphand Indonesia, around 2% each. An index of the country's 45 most liquid stocks was up 0.8%.

Malaysian shares rose marginally in their third straight session of gains, helped by utilities and financial stocks. Petronas Gas Bhd rose 2.4% while lender Malayan Banking added as much as 0.5%.

Thai shares gained for a fourth straight session, buoyed by energy stocks. Oil and gas producer PTT and Airports of Thailand, up more than 1% each, led the gains on the benchmark.

However, analysts advise caution as they think the rise in emerging market shares may be short-lived.

"I don't think the emerging market problems are going away. It's (today's rise) just short term. The only answer to the (emerging market) currency problem is raising interest rates, which would slow down economic growth," said Mathan Somasundaram, chief market strategist at CMC Markets.

Meanwhile, Singapore stocks edged higher as financials gained. Shares of lender Oversea-Chinese Banking Corp were up 0.52% while United Overseas Bank Ltd rose nearly 1%.

"High frequency data — industrial output, non-oil domestic exports, PMIs (purchasing mangers' index), loan growth, container throughout and retail sales — are unanimously pointing to a weaker second half (for Singapore)," DBS Bank said in a note.

Philippine markets was closed for a national holiday.

Change on the day

Market             Current   Previous close  % move
Singapore          3206.82   3204.71         0.07
Bangkok            1703.13   1701.42         0.10
Jakarta            5935.257  5892.192        0.73
Kuala Lumpur       1791.36   1787.58         0.21
Ho Chi Minh        971.73    969.62          0.22

Change on year

Market             Current   End 2017        % move
Singapore          3206.82   3402.92         -5.76
Bangkok            1703.13   1753.71         -2.88
Jakarta            5935.257  6355.654        -6.61
Kuala Lumpur       1791.36   1796.81         -0.30
Ho Chi Minh        971.73    984.24          -1.27