Most Southeast Asian stock markets treaded carefully on Wednesday, with the Philippines falling the most, as investors kept to the sidelines ahead of key meetings of the Bank of England and the European Central Bank.
Asian stocks hit one-year highs after surprisingly weak US services sector activity put paid to already slim chances of an interest rate hike by the Federal Reserve as early as this month.
“It is a little difficult to say where the market is going at this point because although the U.S. services sector activity data was weak, there is still uncertainty because it means the U.S. economy is weakening,” said Mikey Macanaig, an analyst with Sunsecurities Inc in Manila.
“We are looking at the ASEAN Summit, and hoping that the discussions will bear fruits… Markets are very cautious – we do not want any surprises at the moment, and we are still waiting for more data.”
Philippine shares extended losses into a third straight session and were last down 1.2 percent with 27 of the 30 constituents making up the stock index in the red.
The market almost reached the record high recently, so it is fair to say it is a technical correction, said Mikey, adding that: “The one happening with (President Rodrigo) Duterte is the only reason for the selling.”
Financials led the losses with SM Prime Holdings, the country’s largest property developer, down 3.04 percent.
Malaysia was flat ahead of a central bank policy meeting where it is expected to keep its benchmark rate unchanged as the economy is seen to be coping with global market volatility in the wake of Britain’s June Brexit vote.
The country’s exports in July fell the most since May 2015, data released earlier in the day showed, hurt by a slowdown in major trading partner China, weak oil prices and slumping demand for the country’s commodities.
Thai shares rose 0.8 percent with financials leading the gains, while consumer non-cyclicals battered Vietnam shares .