SE Asia Stocks-Tepid ahead of Fed meeting; Singapore recovers

By Rashmi Ashok

* All eyes on U.S. Federal Reserve interest rate decision * Trading volumes remain low as investors stay on sidelines By Rashmi Ashok June 18 (Reuters) - Most Southeast Asian stock markets traded in a tight range on Tuesday as caution ahead of the U.S. Federal Reserve's two-day policy meeting kept investors on the sidelines. The Fed is meeting later in the day amid fresh demands by U.S. President Donald Trump to cut interest rates. However, the central bank is expected to keep rates steady this time while preparing for a rate cut later this year. "With scant data releases and no significant developments on the trade front, the mood in Asia will likely remain cautious," ING said in a note. Investors will wait for possible adjustments to the Fed's dot plots before taking on substantial bets, ING added. Singapore shares rose 0.9%, heading for their first session of gain in three, with conglomerate Jardine Matheson Holdings adding 1.3% and Venture Corp climbing 1.8%. The market recovered from the previous session's losses as weak data raised expectations of a possible monetary easing in October. Financials were among the top gainers, with lenders such as Oversea-Chinese Banking Corp climbing 0.9%, while DBS Group added 0.7%. Indonesian stocks rebounded from the previous session's near 1% drop. Telekomunikasi Indonesia Tbk added 1%, while cigarette manufacturer Gudang Garam Tbk advanced 0.8%. "Indonesia retreated for four trading sessions and it's fair to say that this recovery is only a technical rebound. There has not been too much of a pick-up in volume," said Taye Shim, head of research at Mirae Asset Sekuritas. "The central bank's rate decision is expected this week and investors are pretty much sidelined," Shim added. Malaysian stocks edged higher, with telecom company Axiata Group up 1.3%. Vietnamese stocks edged lower, dragged mainly by financials. For Asian Companies click; SOUTHEAST ASIAN STOCK MARKETS at 0326 GMT Change on the day Market Current Previous close Pct Move Singapore 3236.15 3207.99 0.88 Bangkok 1666.9 1667.23 -0.02 Manila 7903.08 7908.99 -0.07 Jakarta 6224.98 6190.525 0.56 Kuala Lumpur 1642.47 1638.4 0.25 Ho Chi Minh 944.26 946.95 -0.28 Change so far in 2019 Market Current End 2018 Pct Move Singapore 3236.15 3068.76 5.45 Bangkok 1666.9 1563.88 6.59 Manila 7903.08 7,466.02 5.85 Jakarta 6224.98 6,194.50 0.49 Kuala Lumpur 1642.47 1690.58 -2.85 Ho Chi Minh 944.26 892.54 5.79 (Reporting by Rashmi Ashok in Bengaluru; Editing by Subhranshu Sahu)