SET, Singapore stocks lead Southeast Asian peers

The Stock Exchange of Thailand index surges 1.41% on Monday. (Bangkok Post photo)

The Stock Exchange of Thailand index and Singaore stocks surged on Monday, tracking Asian peers, after chances of the US Federal Reserve hiking interest rates four times this year dimmed following data that showed jobs jumped and wage growth slowed in

The SET main index gained 24.95 points or 1.41% to close at 1,800.32, in trade worth 64 billion baht. The Thai shares closed higher for the first time in nine sessions as financials and energy stocks gained. PTT Plc rose 4.49%, while Siam Cement Group Plc gained 2.44%.

Singapore shares rose 1.6% following a gain of 0.2% last week.

Conglomerate Jardine Matheson Holdings Ltd rose 3%, extending gains into a third session after results last week showed profit jumped more than 50%.

“You can see that there is growth in most of its business segments like Jardine Pacific and Jardine Motors,” said Joel Ng, a research analyst at KGI Securities in Singapore.

Inflation worries faded on Friday after US data showed nonfarm payrolls jumped by 313,000 jobs last month, but the annual growth in average hourly earnings slowed to 2.6% after a spike in January.

The slowdown in wage growth tempered speculation that the Federal Reserve would project four rate hikes — or dot plots — at its policy meeting next week, instead of the current three.

Asia shares ex-Japan climbed 1.3%, heading for a third straight session of gains.

“I think the latest data points are positive for markets. We are starting to see a move back to risky assets like equities,” Ng said.

“We are positive on equity markets… the earnings growth is positive, dividends are rising. All these are contributing to better prospects for equity markets in 2018.”

Malaysian shares rose 0.9%, with CIMB Group Holdings Bhd contributing the most to the index’s gain.

The country’s banks will continue to perform well in 2018, Moody’s said in a report on Monday.

Philippine shares climbed 1% after ending the previous week about 1% lower.

Ayala Corp rose 1.2% after reporting a jump of more than 16% in net income attributable for 2017.

Indonesian shares climbed over 1%, helped by financials and consumer discretionary stocks. Bank Central Asia rose 1.4% and was the top contributor to the index.

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