SE Asia Stocks-Indonesia slips as market awaits stance; Singapore, Malaysia gain

By Niyati Shetty

* Bank Indonesia likely to keep rates on hold at 5.75% - poll * U.S. Fed Chair Jerome Powell's speech due late Friday * Philippine stocks drop 1.5% By Niyati Shetty Aug 22 (Reuters) - The Indonesian index retreated on Thursday as investors kept a cautious stance and waited for central bank's clues on further rate cuts, while Singapore and Malaysian stocks edged up ahead of a key gathering of global policymakers. Traders expect that the U.S. Federal Reserve's annual Jackson Hole symposium and a Group of Seven summit this weekend will shed light on the next steps policymakers will take to support economic growth. Meanwhile, a Reuters poll showed that nearly all analysts believe Bank Indonesia (BI) will keep its key rate unchanged at 5.75% after a 25 basis point cut in July. "At the end of the day it is a situation that there is something wrong with the economy, but how are we going to fix this," said Taye Shim, head of research, Mirae Asset Sekuritas. The recent easing spree from regional central banks and disappointing local economic data could prompt a surprise rate cut from the BI. The Indonesian index extended declines with Telekomunikasi Indonesia dropping 1.8% and Bank Central Asia slipping 0.9%. "It is imperative for central banks across the globe to push down the rates," added Shim, who thinks the BI will cut rates in its policy meeting later in the day. An index of Jakarta's 45 most liquid stocks fell 0.7%. Singapore shares recovered from previous session's losses to trade marginally higher, with industrials supporting the index. Conglomerates Jardine Matheson Holdings added 2.2% and Jardine Strategic Holdings rose 1.3%. After minutes of the U.S. Federal Reserve's two-day session in July was released on Wednesday showed policymakers deeply divided over whether to cut interest rates, markets eagerly await Chair Jerome Powell's speech for more clarity. However, Jeffrey Halley, senior market analyst, Asia Pacific at OANDA warned that, "with positioning in equities, bonds and energy all heavily weighted to a (dovish) outcome, the resulting correction from a lack of Powell love, could be both ugly and emotional." Financial and industrial sectors supported the Malaysian equities, with RHB Bank Bhd advancing 1.5% and Misc Bhd rising 1.4%. Philippine shares slumped for a second straight session as index heavyweights SM Prime Holdings dropped 2.9% and Megaworld Corp slipped 8.3%. The Philippine stock market was closed for a holiday on Wednesday. Elsewhere, Thai stocks retreated a session after it clocked significant gains, following a surprise rise in July exports as gold shipments surged. For Asian Companies click; SOUTHEAST ASIAN STOCK MARKETS AS AT 0428 GMT Market Current Previous close Pct Move Singapore 3126.11 3122.57 0.11 Bangkok 1633.63 1638.24 -0.28 Manila 7772.71 7886.91 -1.45 Jakarta 6227.719 6252.967 -0.40 Kuala Lumpur 1597.92 1594.59 0.21 Ho Chi Minh 994.91 994.38 0.05 Change so far in 2019 Market Current End 2018 Pct Move Singapore 3126.11 3068.76 1.87 Bangkok 1633.63 1563.88 4.46 Manila 7772.71 7,466.02 4.11 Jakarta 6227.719 6,194.50 0.54 Kuala Lumpur 1597.92 1690.58 -5.48 Ho Chi Minh 994.91 892.54 11.47 (Reporting by Niyati Shetty; Editing by Sherry Jacob-Phillips)