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South-east Asia: Singapore stocks lead regional gains ahead of Fed decision

Wednesday, September 16, 2015 - 14:33
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The new head of Singapore Exchange Ltd, which was hit hard in its derivatives trading by China's economic slowdown, could face his toughest questions yet at an annual shareholders' meeting on Wednesday as pressure mounts to find new sources of revenue.

[SINGAPORE] Most South-east Asian stock markets were range-bound on Wednesday as investors in the region were cautious ahead of the US Federal Reserve's decision on interest rates, with stocks in Singapore outperforming while some Indonesian large-caps gained.

Singapore's key Straits Times Index traded up 0.9 per cent, with shares of Singapore Telecommunications and CapitaLand leading the market rebound from recent losses.

Much of the gain in the city-state's bourse was powered by bargain-hunting which came after Tuesday's index slide to the lowest close since June 2012 and as sentiment reversed after Wall Street's overnight gains.

"Yesterday's drop could incite some bargain hunting today though we think this will be restrained and within a certain band as the Fed could still come up with surprises," said broker NRA Capital in a report.

The Thai SET index posted its first gain in five sessions. Jakarta's composite index was little changed, with gains in select large-caps such as Telekom Indonesia , among one of broker Citi's top picks.

"We continue to believe that the large-cap infra-themed names will outperform in the next one year," Citi said in a report dated Sept 15. Its year-end 2015 and year-end 2016 targets for the Indonesian index were 5,000 and 5,700, respectively.

The Philippine index eked out modest gains, while Vietnam drifted into negative territory, with shares moving mixed after Market Vectors Vietnam ETF announced its portfolio review.

Asian shares followed Wall Street higher on Wednesday, reflecting the possibility of the first interest rate hike in the United States in almost a decade.

Malaysia was closed on Wednesday for a holiday, reopening on Thursday.

REUTERS