SE Asia Stocks-Most markets move sideways in low-volume trade; Singapore rises

The Straits Times

Most Southeast Asian stock markets moved sideways in low-volume trade on Thursday in the absence of market-moving triggers, while investors remained focused on a meeting of central bankers in Jackson Hole later in the day.

Asian shares edged higher, shaking off the risk aversion that gripped financial markets overnight after US President Donald Trump said he would be willing to risk a governments hutdown to secure funding for a wall along the US-Mexico border.

“I think that there is lack of catalysts that is moving the markets and some investors are staying on the sidelines waiting for some catalysts,” said Edgar Lay, a junior equity analyst with AB Capital Securities.

Investors are keeping a close eye on the central banking conference in Jackson Hole, Wyoming, where Federal Reserve Chair Janet Yellen and European Central Bank President Mario Draghi are both due to speak, although new policy messages are seen as unlikely.

Singapore shares rose 0.4%, led by financials and industrials. United Overseas Bank rose as much as 1.5%, while and Jardine Matheson Holdings gained up to 1.7%.

Thai shares climbed 0.2%, helped by gains in industrials and financials. Siam Commercial Bank rose as much as 1.4%, heading for a third straight session of gains.

Philippine shares edged up after three straight sessions of decline, with gains in industrials offsetting losses in telecom stocks. Ayala Land rose as much as 1%, while GT Capital Holdings Inc gained 3.1%.

“Investors might have done some bargain hunting,” said Fio Dejesus, an equity analyst with Manila-based RCBC Securities.

Bucking the trend, Indonesia shares fell 0.3%, broadly hurt by financials.