U.S. Markets closed

SE Asia Stocks-Most rise as Fed seen accommodative; Philippines bounces back

* Thai stocks fall for third consecutive session

* Indonesia hits more than two-week closing high

By Shreya Mariam Job

March 18 (Reuters) - Most Southeast Asian stock markets rose

on Monday, with Philippines leading the pack, as hopes of the

U.S. Federal Reserve maintaining a dovish stance at a policy

meeting on Wednesday buoyed risk appetite.

With growth due to slow over the next three years and the

Fed's preferred measure of inflation not expected to show any

significant pick up, an increasing number of economists have

turned dovish on the U.S. interest rate outlook with a hike

expected only in the third quarter, according to a Reuters poll.

The Fed's rigorous rate hike cycle last year had taken a

toll on Southeast Asian economies, compelling central banks in

the region to tighten their monetary policies.

As these pressures subside, the central banks look to ease

policies. Investor sentiment toward risk assets in the region

has improved ahead of a slew of central bank policy meetings

scheduled for the week.

Philippine stocks bounced back from earlier losses to

close 1 percent higher, with gains concentrated in industrials.

The Philippine central bank will likely keep the interest

rate on its overnight reverse repurchase policy

steady at 4.75 percent on Thursday, while it may cut the amount

of cash that banks must hold as reserves.

Shares of SM Investments Corp and SM Prime Holdings

Inc advanced 1.7 percent and 2 percent, respectively.

Indonesian stocks rose 0.8 percent to a more than

two-week closing high, boosted by telecom and financial stocks.

Telekomunikasi Indonesia and Astra International Tbk

rose 2.4 percent each.

Malaysian shares added 0.6 percent, buoyed by a 3

percent gain in utility Tenaga Nasional Bhd.

Singapore shares rose 0.4 percent after data showed

an unexpected rise in February non-oil domestic exports.

Singapore's exports rebounded from their biggest fall in

over two years in January, but economists say a decline in

electronics shipments shows global demand has not improved.

DBS Group Holdings Ltd rose 0.4 percent, while

Jardine Strategic Holdings Ltd gained 0.7 percent.

Meanwhile, Thai stocks fell for a third straight

session on caution ahead of general elections.

"Investors who are still not sure of the outcome of the

election are holding their investments on the sidelines and are

not so active in Thai markets now," said Teerada Charnyingyong,

an analyst with Phillip Capital Thailand.

CP All Pcl dropped 2 percent, while Airports of

Thailand Pcl declined 1.5 percent.

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Change on the day

Market Current Previous close Pct Move

Singapore 3212.96 3200.18 0.40

Bangkok 1617.57 1625.57 -0.49

Manila 7873.02 7798.28 0.96

Jakarta 6509.447 6461.183 0.75

Kuala Lumpur 1690.94 1680.54 0.62

Ho Chi Minh 1011.86 1004.12 0.77

Change so far in 2019

Market Current End 2018 Pct Move

Singapore 3212.96 3068.76 4.70

Bangkok 1617.57 1563.88 3.43

Manila 7873.02 7,466.02 5.45

Jakarta 6509.447 6,194.50 5.08

Kuala Lumpur 1690.94 1690.58 0.02

Ho Chi Minh 1011.86 892.54 13.37

(Reporting by Shreya Mariam Job in Bengaluru; Editing by

Subhranshu Sahu)