* philippines ends below 8,000 for first time since sept
* indonesia snaps 6 sessions of falls, ends 1.1 pct higher
* vietnam finishes higher for eighth straight session
* focus on fed's rate decision, outlook
by aaron saldanha
march 21 (reuters) - philippine stocks slumped nearly 2
percent on wednesday, extending falls to their lowest close
since early august, while most other southeast asian markets
climbed ahead of the u.s. federal reserve's rate decision and
the fed is widely expected to raise interest rates at its
two-day policy meeting that ends on wednesday, with the focus
mainly on chairman jerome powell's commentary later in the
global day, which may provide hints on the number of hikes for
the rest of the year.
most investors have already adjusted their positions into
fixed income assets, said rachelle cruz, the head of research at
ap securities in the philippines.
the philippine stock exchange psei index .psi dropped 1.9
percent and closed below the 8,000 level for the first time
since september, weighed down by financials and industrials.
sm investments corp sm.ps fell 2 percent, while ayala land
inc ali.ps declined 3.1 percent to its lowest close since june
the central bank's reticence to raise rates puts the country
at a significant disadvantage if the peso weakens after a
potential rate hike by the fed, analysts say.
"companies suffering in terms of margins would be consumer
companies as a lot of their products are imported from other
countries," said ap securities' cruz.
the philippine stock index shed 4 percent in the three
sessions through wednesday.
indonesian shares .jkse snapped a six-session losing
streak and closed 1.1 percent higher, helped by consumer staples
an index of the country's 45 most liquid stocks .jklq45
firmed 1.1 percent.
unilever indonesia tbk pt unvr.jk rose 2.6 percent, while
telekomunikasi indonesia tlkm.jk ended 1.4 percent higher.
malaysian shares .klse gained 0.5 percent as financials
and telecom services stocks rose. cimb group holdings bhd
cimb.kl ended 1.4 percent higher.
government data showed the consumer price index mycpi=eci
in february rose 1.4 percent from a year earlier, below the 1.9
percent forecast in a reuters poll. urn:newsml:reuters.com:*:nl3n1r31xq
vietnam shares .vni advanced for an eighth straight
session and closed 0.9 percent higher on broad-based gains.
real estate firm vingroup jsc vic.hm rose 3.7 percent to
an all-time closing high.
singapore shares .sti edged lower, dragged by industrials
and real estate stocks. jardine matheson holdings ltd jard.si
ended down 1.8 percent.
for asian companies click; urn:newsml:reuters.com:*:ntopeqa
southeast asian stock markets: change on day
market current previous close pct
singapore 3511.13 3513.31 -0.06
bangkok 1801.43 1799.84 0.09
manila 7909.07 8059.6 -1.87
jakarta 6312.831 6243.577 1.11
kuala lumpur 1865.8 1856.39 0.51
ho chi minh 1169.36 1159.39 0.86
change so far in 2018
market current end 2017 pct
singapore 3511.13 3402.92 3.18
bangkok 1801.43 1753.71 2.72
manila 7909.07 8558.42 -7.59
jakarta 6312.831 6355.654 -0.67
kuala lumpur 1865.8 1796.81 3.84
ho chi minh 1169.36 984.24 18.81
(reporting by aaron saldanha in bengaluru; editing by
((email@example.com; +91 80 6749 1130; reuters