SE Asian stocks mostly up; Malaysia gains for 9th session

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BENGALURU (July 19): Singapore marked its highest close in over three weeks on Thursday and Malaysia extended gains into a ninth session as positive earnings from Wall Street and the Federal Reserve chairman's view on the US economy buoyed investor sentiment.

Markets in Asia found support after Jerome Powell reiterated that the US economy was healthy, even though he warned that rising world protectionism would over time pose a risk to global economic expansion.

Singapore shares extended gains for a third session, ending 1.1% higher at 3,277.58, its highest close since June 26, led by banks.

DBS Group Holdings rose 0.9% and United Overseas Bank Ltd advanced 1.5%.

Financials boosted the Malaysian index with Malayan Banking Bhd up 2.2%, while Public Bank Bhd gained 0.8%.

Thai stocks closed at a one-month high with Airports of Thailand up 3.3% and Siam Commercial Bank gaining 1.2% ahead of its quarterly earnings.

Indonesian shares erased early gains to close lower, after the central bank governor said Bank Indonesia remains hawkish although it kept the benchmark interest rate unchanged.

The rupiah slipped to its lowest since October 2015, after the decision at the policy meeting.

Telekomunikasi Indonesia closed 2.5% lower, and Unilever Indonesia was down 2.2%.

An index of the country's 45 most liquid stocks shed 0.6%.

Philippine shares closed 0.9% lower with financials leading the falls.

The index has been on a rally for the past two weeks, and investors are resorting to profit-taking, said Charles William Ang, associate analyst at COL Financial Group.

Ayala Corp fell 3% and SM Prime Holdings declined 1.2%.

Change on the day

Market             Current   Previous close  % move
Singapore          3277.58   3240.5          1.14
Bangkok            1646.89   1635.85         0.67
Manila             7387.87   7451.37         -0.85
Jakarta            5871.077  5890.731        -0.33
Kuala Lumpur       1759.24   1753.07         0.35
Ho Chi Minh        943.97    942.39          0.17

Change on year

Market             Current   End 2017        % move
Singapore          3277.58   3402.92         -3.68
Bangkok            1646.89   1753.71         -6.09
Manila             7387.87   8558.42         -13.68
Jakarta            5871.077  6355.654        -7.62
Kuala Lumpur       1759.24   1796.81         -2.09
Ho Chi Minh        943.97    984.24          -4.09