SE Asia Stocks-Edge up; Singapore hits near 2-yr high – Reuters

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    By Ambar Warrick
    July 17 (Reuters) - Most Southeast Asian stock markets rose
on Monday, with Singapore hitting a near two-year high, as tame
inflation and soft domestic demand in the United States hurt
prospects for a third interest rate increase by the Federal
Reserve. 
     U.S. consumer prices were unchanged in June and retail
sales fell for a second straight month, but industrial
production picked up, driven by a surge in oil and gas drilling,
data showed on Friday. 
    U.S. policymakers are confronted with benign inflation and a
tight labor market as they weigh a third rate hike and
announcing plans to start reducing the central bank's $4.2
trillion portfolio of Treasury bonds and mortgage-backed
securities.
    A tamer Fed bodes well for inflows into Asia as investors
usually look to its markets for better yields. 
    In Southeast Asia, Singapore rose for a second
consecutive session to hit a near two-year high, led by
financial stocks. 
    DBS Group Holdings rose as much as 1.8 percent,
while United Overseas Bank hit a more than two-year
high.
    Singapore's non-oil domestic exports grew
faster-than-expected in June from a year earlier on continued
growth in electronics shipments as well as a rebound in
non-electronic products.
    Philippine stocks rose as much as 0.9 percent, as 
industrial and real estate stocks gained. JG Summit Holdings Inc
 rose 1.5 percent, while SM Prime Holdings Inc
gained as much as 1.8 percent.
    "We have our State of the Nation address coming up a week
from now, followed by the opening of Congress. Markets usually
move higher ahead of the address," said Joseph Roxas, president
of Manila-based Eagle Equities Inc.
    "...we expect the Senate to pass tax reform measures, mainly
to lower corporate and individual income taxes."
    Thailand, Malaysia and Indonesia
were little changed, while Vietnam edged down 0.2
percent.
    Asian stocks rose, with the MSCI's broadest index of
Asia-Pacific shares outside Japan up about 0.4
percent.
    
    
    
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SOUTHEAST ASIAN STOCK MARKETS: Change as at 0344 GMT
    
  Change on the day                                             
  Market                     Current      previous      Pct Move
                                          close         
  Singapore                  3293.01      3287.43       0.17
  Bangkok                    1579.46      1577.79       0.11
  Manila                     7924.46      7885.9        0.49
  Jakarta                    5834.582     5831.795      0.05
  Kuala Lumpur               1756.71      1755          0.10
 Ho Chi Minh                 776.24       777.6         -0.17
                                                        
  Change so far in 2017                                 
  Market                     Current      End prev yr   Pct Move
  Singapore                  3293.01      2880.76       14.31
  Bangkok                    1579.46      1542.94       2.37
  Manila                     7924.46      6840.64       15.84
  Jakarta                    5834.582     5296.711      10.15
  Kuala Lumpur               1756.71      1641.73       7.00
 Ho Chi Minh                 776.24       664.87        16.75
 
 (Reporting by Ambar Warrick in Bengaluru; Editing by Biju
Dwarakanath)