Dec 18 (Reuters) - Southeast Asian markets were range-bound
on Wednesday as nervous investors awaited to hear when the U.S.
Federal Reserve would begin unwinding its stimulus programme, a
major driver for global risk assets in recent years.
A better-than-expected report on U.S. house builder
confidence and inflation data suggesting low but stable price
growth, supported the view that economic conditions are adequate
for the Fed to start scaling back its $85 billion monthly
Bangkok's SET index was up 0.9 percent at 1349.34
points by 0623 GMT despite a weaker baht, led by an over
5.8 percent gain in Advanced Info Service PCL and a
3.1 percent rise in Total Access Communication PCL.
The market's expectation of "not too bad news" from the Fed
meeting and smaller foreign outflows have boosted sentiment,
Teerada Charnyingyong, a Bangkok-based strategist at broker
Phillip Securities, said.
"However, local political uncertainty, especially after the
protest leaders have called for a big demonstration again this
weekend, may cap the index upside at around 1360-1380 for this
week," Charnyingyong said.
The Jakarta Composite Index rose 0.3 percent led by
shares in infrastructure and finance companies, also despite a
fall in the rupiah.
The Philippine index recovered from early losses and
was trading 0.3 percent up at a more-than-one-week high.
Investors have been nervous about when the Fed will start
tapering its $85 billion-a-month bond-buying programme.
A majority of economists polled earlier expected the taper
to start in March, but a recent run of upbeat economic data from
the U.S. has steadily shortened the odds on an announcement to
this week's two-day meeting concluding on Wednesday, or in
Malaysia's share index was down 0.1 percent, from a
record closing high in the previous session.
Singapore's benchmark index was also down 0.1 percent, while
Vietnam eased 0.2 percent led by real estate shares on
investor concerns about the government's sluggish social housing
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SOUTHEAST ASIAN STOCK MARKETS
Change at 0623 GMT
Market Current Prev Close Pct Move
TR SE Asia Index* 388.96 389.57 -0.03
Singapore 3063.75 3067.57 -0.12
Kuala Lumpur 1848.86 1850.90 -0.11
Bangkok 1349.34 1337.18 +0.91
Jakarta 4193.60 4182.35 +0.27
Manila 5944.97 5928.99 +0.27
Ho Chi Minh 504.83 505.67 -0.17
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