SE Asian stocks rise tracking Wall Street; Indonesia hits 2-week high

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BENGALURU (Aug 27): Southeast Asian stock markets rose on Monday, tracking Wall Street's record high on Friday after US Federal Reserve Chairman Jerome Powell defended the central bank's rate hike cycle.

Powell made the case that gradual interest rate hikes were the best way to protect the US economy and signalled more hikes were coming despite President Donald Trump's criticism of higher borrowing costs.

"Powell's comments somewhat supported risk sentiment, as the Fed is unlikely to tighten faster than planned despite inflation moving up to near 2%," Mizuho Bank said in a note.

In early Asian trade on Monday, S&P500 E-mini futures touched a record high of 2,885, and were last 0.2% higher at 2,882.5. MSCI's broadest index of Asia-Pacific shares outside Japan was up over 1%.

Singapore shares rose 0.6%, driven by financials. Top lenders DBS Group Holdings and United Overseas Bank Ltd were up nearly 1% each.

Indonesian shares climbed as much as 0.8% to a two-week high, led by materials and telecom stocks.

Telekomunikasi Indonesia led the gains on the benchmark, rising 2.4% while cement manufacturer Semen Indonesia jumped 6%.

An index of the country's 45 most liquid stocks was up 0.8%.

Malaysian shares hit a three-month high and were last marginally higher with gains in financials offseting losses in telecom stocks.

Malayan Banking rose 1.5% to an over two-month high, while Axiata Group fell 3.6% after the telecommunications company on Friday posted a quarterly net loss of RM3.36 billion (US$818.51 million), compared with a profit of RM407.2 million a year earlier.

Thai shares rose to their highest in over two weeks, helped by gains across the board.

Bank of Ayudhya was among the biggest boost with a gain of over 3%. Oil and gas explorer PTT Exploration and Production was up 1.4%.

Philippine financial markets were closed for a holiday.

SOUTHEAST ASIAN STOCK MARKETS: AS AT 0339GMT
Change on the day

Market             Current  Previous close  % move
Singapore          3232.84  3213            0.62
Bangkok            1713.23  1703.82         0.55
Jakarta            6011.52  5968.75         0.72
Kuala Lumpur       1811.69  1808.59         0.17
Ho Chi Minh        992.49   987.05          0.55

Change on year

Market             Current  End 2017        % move
Singapore          3232.84  3402.92         -5.00
Bangkok            1713.23  1753.71         -2.31
Jakarta            6011.52  6355.654        -5.41
Kuala Lumpur       1811.69  1796.81         0.83
Ho Chi Minh        992.49   984.24          0.84

(US$1 = RM4.1050)