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SE Asia Stocks-Most dip as Fed dashes dovish hopes

By Rashmi Ashok

Dec 20 (Reuters) - Most Southeast Asian shares fell in line

with their Asian peers on Thursday after the U.S. Federal

Reserve kept most of its outlook for further interest rate hikes

in 2019, stoking fears of a blow to economic growth.

Malaysian and Indonesian shares suffered the

worst losses in the region, falling 0.6 percent and 0.5 percent,

as the Fed signalled "some further gradual" rate hikes on

Wednesday, dashing investors' hopes for a more dovish stance.

Recent signs of weak manufacturing growth in China and a

cooling housing market in the United States have compounded

worries about global growth in the midst of an already damaging

trade dispute between the two major economies.

"Against the backdrop of the trade war and weak economic

data from major economies, people were hoping the Fed would

extend a lifeline," said Fio Dejesus, an equity research analyst

at RCBC Securities in Manila. "But their mandate was different

from what the market hoped for."

A fall in industrial stocks dragged Philippine shares

lower on Thursday. Conglomerate SM Investments Corp and

lender BDO Unibank Inc shed 1.7 percent and 1.5

percent, respectively.

Over the past year, a big portion of the fall in Philippine

shares was because of a weakening peso currency, and new

U.S. rate hikes could strengthen the dollar further, piling

more pressure on the peso and Philippine markets, Dejesus said.

In Kuala Lumpur, palm oil producer Sime Darby Plantation

Berhad slipped 2.5 percent, while IHH Healthcare

Berhad shed 3.5 percent.

Indonesia's benchmark was pulled lower by financial stocks,

with Bank Central Asia Tbk losing 1.9 percent and Bank

Mandiri (Persero) Tbk falling 0.3 percent.

Thai stocks slipped 0.43 percent as financial and

telecom shares weighed. Lender Siam Commercial Bank PCL

lost 0.4 percent, while Total Access Communication PCL

was off 0.6 percent.

Bucking the trend, Singapore's benchmark saw modest

gains, while Vietnamese stocks were little changed.

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Change on the day

Market Current Previous close Pct Move

Singapore 3061.06 3058.65 0.08

Bangkok 1594.28 1601.12 -0.43

Manila 7569.94 7579.62 -0.13

Jakarta 6144.145 6176.094 -0.52

Kuala Lumpur 1645.21 1655.66 -0.63

Ho Chi Minh 919.87 919.24 0.07

Change on year

Market Current End prev yr Pct Move

Singapore 3061.06 3402.92 -10.05

Bangkok 1594.28 1753.71 -9.09

Manila 7569.94 8,558.42 -11.55

Jakarta 6144.145 6,355.65 -3.33

Kuala Lumpur 1645.21 1796.81 -8.44

Ho Chi Minh 919.87 984.24 -6.54

(Reporting by Rashmi Ashok in Bengaluru; Editing by Sai Sachin