PH, most Asian stocks retreat on Friday
BANGKOK - Indonesian stocks retreated the most among Southeast Asian markets on Friday, with several others drifting into negative territory on technical-led selling in regional large caps as investors turned cautious over the U.S. Federal Reserve's policy outlook.
The Philippine main index closed down 1.3 percent, racking up a gain of 4.8 percent on week, its best since March.
Jakarta's Composite Index dropped 1.7 percent after a 4.7 percent rally in the previous session, trimming its gains so far on the week to around 5 percent.
Bank Mandiri and car maker Astra International led the decline. Analysts said a slowing domestic economy meant potential weak corporate earnings and investors should take profits on higher prices.
"It's a healthy correction following yesterday's strong move... At the end of the day, Jakarta is very much a trading market for now, and hence, we advise clients to take profits on exaggerated moves," said Harry Su, head of research at Bahana Securities.
The Fed's unexpected decision to maintain its monetary stimulus sparked short-covering across Southeast Asian exchanges on Thursday, with $90 million worth of net foreign buying in Indonesia alone, Thomson Reuters data showed.
Singapore's Straits Times Index was down 0.5 percent, on track for a weekly gain of 3.8 percent, its biggest since December 2011. Traders said Thursday's rise put the index in uncharted territory, prompting quick profit-taking.
"The immediate target highlighted at 3170/75 was easily exceeded as the rally surged to a high of 3260 yesterday. While the upward momentum is still strong, the rally appears to be running ahead of itself," UOB strategists wrote in a report.
Thai SET index slid 0.2 percent, erasing some of the 3.5 percent gain the day before but still poised for a 5.8 percent jump on the week, the biggest since December 2011. Vietnam was flat, with blue chips standing still.
Malaysia bucked the trend, rising 0.5 percent and building on a 1.2 percent rise on Thursday.