Singapore hits 15-mth closing high; all eyes on Fed

Singapore hits 15-mth closing high; all eyes on Fed
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(Feb 1): Singapore stocks hit a 15-month closing high and Indonesia posted its first gain in four sessions on Wednesday, while regional peers closed largely flat, as investors awaited the outcome of the US Federal Reserve meeting.

Singapore recovered from Tuesday's loss and ended the session 0.7% higher, its highest close since October 2015.

Industrials and real estate stocks led the gains with conglomerate Jardine Matheson gaining 1.6% and CapitaLand Ltd rising 2.4%.

Indonesian stocks were up 0.6%, with financials accounting for nearly half the gains. The index rose 0.9% in January.

The country's factory output rose for the first time in four months due to rising new domestic orders, data released on Wednesday showed.

"Indonesia's manufacturing PMI for January came in at 50.4pt (vs. forecast 49.5pt, previous 49.0pt), which indicates that the Indonesian manufacturing is starting to recover," said Taye Shim, head of research at Mirae Asset Sekuritas, in a note.

Indonesia's annual inflation rate also accelerated in January, mainly due to increases in the prices of processed food and drinks as well as cigarettes, the statistics bureau said on Wednesday.

The Philippines and Thailand closed marginally lower ahead of the Fed meeting on Wednesday.  

Economists polled by Reuters have all but ruled out a rate increase by the Fed.

"Our position is that the Federal Reserve will not raise rates in this meeting. They're going to have to observe what their President is doing, and try to forecast what the effect of his moves will be (on financial markets)," said Joseph Roxas, president of Manila-based Eagle Equities Inc.

An interest rate hike is likely in June, according to Fed futures data compiled by the CME Group.

Vietnam and Malaysia were closed for a public holiday.

SOUTHEAST ASIAN STOCK MARKETS
Change on the day

Market            Current       Previous close     % move
Singapore         3067.49       3046.8       0.68
Bangkok           1576.32       1577.31      -0.06
Manila            7227.45       7229.66      -0.03
Jakarta           5327.161      5294.103     0.62

Change this year

Market            Current       End 2016     % move
Singapore         3067.49       2880.76      6.48
Bangkok           1576.32       1542.94      2.16
Manila            7227.45       6840.64      5.7
Jakarta           5327.161      5296.711     0.57