SE Asia Stocks-Most markets close lower after guarded Fed outlook

By Anushka Trivedi

* Thailand top loser; energy, telecom drag * Indonesia central bank lowers rates * Weak palm oil prices hurt Malaysian stocks By Anushka Trivedi Sept 19 (Reuters) - Most Southeast Asian stock markets closed lower on Thursday, with Thailand leading the pack, after the U.S. Federal Reserve thwarted hopes of further policy easing. The Fed dished out a widely expected quarter-point rate cut on Wednesday but was decidedly hawkish in its tone, with Chair Jerome Powell describing the rate cut as an "insurance against ongoing risks" that includes stagnancy in global growth and longstanding trade tensions. "The ultimate problem with this type of Federal Open Market Committee dispersion model is that it's confusing, which means more uncertainty, and uncertainty is going to lead to risk reduction," said Stephen Innes, Asia Pacific market strategist at AxiTrader. Thai shares extended falls into a second session and closed at a three-week low, with energy and telecom stocks accounting for most of the losses. Weak oil prices pushed state-run energy company PTT PCL 1.1% lower, while telecom services provider Advanced Info Service PCL dropped 2.2%. Indonesian shares fell 0.5% as an interest rate cut by the central bank failed to lift sentiment. Bank Indonesia delivered a widely expected 25 basis point rate cut but warned of its economy taking a hit from the global economic slowdown, and said it expected 2019 growth below the midpoint of 5%-5.4%. "A slight hawkish future stance of the Fed contributed to the pullback, also market seems unmoved despite a 25 bp rate cut," said Anugerah Zamzami Nasr, an equity research analyst at PT Phillip Sekuritas Indonesia. "We suspect that despite lower inflation and resilient external balance, Indonesian economic growth could be sluggish for the rest of the year and might need other non-monetary stimulus." Resources and telecom stocks were among the top losers, with heavyweight PT Telekomunikasi Indonesia Tbk dipping 0.9%. Kenanga Group analysts see top-line weakness in the second half for the company as changes in its product pricing are expected to lead to lower average revenue per user. Malaysian shares closed 0.2% lower, dragged by consumer and healthcare stocks. A decline in palm oil prices weighed on companies such as Sime Darby Plantation Bhd and IOI Corp Bhd, while hospital operator IHH Healthcare shed 1.7%. For Asian Companies click; SOUTHEAST ASIAN STOCK MARKETS Change on the day Market Current Previous close Pct Move Singapore 3158.8 3166.84 -0.25 Bangkok 1640.66 1654.14 -0.81 Manila 7911.32 7915.29 -0.05 Jakarta 6244.47 6276.633 -0.51 Kuala Lumpur 1596.28 1599.49 -0.20 Ho Chi Minh 997.1 995.15 0.20 Change so far in 2019 Market Current End 2018 Pct Move Singapore 3158.8 3068.76 2.93 Bangkok 1640.66 1563.88 4.91 Manila 7911.32 7,466.02 5.96 Jakarta 6244.47 6,194.50 0.81 Kuala Lumpur 1596.28 1690.58 -5.58 Ho Chi Minh 997.1 892.54 11.71 (Reporting by Anushka Trivedi in Bengaluru; Editing by Subhranshu Sahu)