* Indonesia on track for fourth straight session of gains
* Singapore's February non-oil exports rise unexpectedly
* Investor sentiment bolstered ahead of Fed policy meeting
By Shreya Mariam Job
March 18 (Reuters) - Most Southeast Asian stock markets rose
on Monday with Vietnam leading gains, as investor sentiment
buoyed ahead of the U.S. Federal Reserve's policy meeting where
the policymakers were expected to remain dovish.
"Investors are likely to tread water today, awaiting the
Fed's policy decision on Wednesday," according to an OCBC note,
A slew of central bank meetings in Indonesia, Philippines and
Thailand in the coming week have also boosted sentiment, it
The U.S. Federal Reserve will remain patient for a little
longer than thought just last month, waiting until the third
quarter before raising rates once more, and then stay on the
sidelines, a Reuters poll of economists showed.
The rigorous rate hike cycle of the Fed last year had put
pressure on most Southeast Asian economies, with especially
Indonesia resorting to aggressive policy tightening in an
attempt to fend the rupiah. The continued dovish stance has
relieved these pressures and fostered risk sentiment in the
The Vietnam index rose 0.6 percent, buoyed by
financial and real estate stocks. Index heavyweights Joint Stock
Commercial Bank for Foreign Trade of Viet Nam rose 2
percent and 1.2 percent, respectively.
The Indonesian benchmark index rose as much as 0.7
percent rising to its highest in two weeks in early trade, with
financials and consumer stocks boosting the index.
It was up over 0.4 percent after relinquishing some of the
gains, with the country's big lenders Bank Central Asia Tbk PT
and Bank Rakyat Indonesia (Persero) Tbk PT
gaining as much as 1.1 percent and 1.3 percent, respectively.
Singapore stocks rose about 0.4 percent after data
from the trade agency Enterprise Singapore showed a surprise
rise in February exports of the country.
Owing to a surge in China exports, non-oil domestic exports
(NODX) of Singapore rose 4.9 percent in February year-on-year.
Industrials and financials pushed the index higher, with the
country's biggest listed bank DBS Group Holdings Ltd
advancing 0.6 percent and Jardine Strategic Holdings Ltd
firming 0.7 percent.
Utilities and healthcare stocks pushed the Malaysian index
0.4 percent higher with Tenaga Nasional Bhd
rising 1.9 percent and IHH Healthcare Bhd gaining 1.4
Meanwhile, the Thai benchmark slipped into the red
with consumer and industrial stocks dragging the index 0.4
percent lower. CP All PCL and Airports of Thailand
PCL dropped 1.3 percent and 0.7 percent, respectively.
For Asian Companies click;
SOUTHEAST ASIAN STOCK MARKETS at 0339 GMT
Change on the day
Market Current Previous close Pct Move
Singapore 3211.96 3200.18 0.37
Bangkok 1619.01 1625.57 -0.40
Manila 7801.86 7798.28 0.05
Jakarta 6486.426 6461.183 0.39
Kuala Lumpur 1687.01 1680.54 0.38
Ho Chi Minh 1010.01 1004.12 0.59
Change so far in 2019
Market Current End 2018 Pct Move
Singapore 3211.96 3068.76 4.67
Bangkok 1619.01 1563.88 3.53
Manila 7801.86 7,466.02 4.50
Jakarta 6486.426 6,194.50 4.71
Kuala Lumpur 1687.01 1690.58 -0.21
Ho Chi Minh 1010.01 892.54 13.16
(Reporting by Shreya Mariam Job in Bengaluru; Editing by Rashmi