Vietnam's stock hits 9-yr high as focus returns to banks

Vietnam shares hit their highest since Feb 2008 on Wednesday, led by gains in financials

A man observes stock prices in this photo illustration.

Vietnam shares hit their highest since Feb 2008 on Wednesday, led by gains in financials, while most other Southeast Asian markets rose ahead of key U.S. economic data that could influence Federal Reserve's rate hike decision.    

The consumer price index is expected to have risen 0.3 percent in January after a similar gain in December, while retail sales are likely to have risen 0.1 percent in January after advancing 0.6 percent the previous month.

Vietnam index rose for a fourth straight session to close 0.8 percent higher. Trading volumes were 1.5 times the 30-day average.   

"It looks like basket trading in a couple of key stocks ...we are seeing a return to favour of some of the banks," said Fiachra Mac Cana, head of research at Ho Chi Minh Securities.    

"We are sitting on top of a major resistance line right now... we may see the markets consolidate at current levels," Mac Cana added.    

Vietnam Joint Stock Commercial Bank for Industry and Trade added 3.5 percent to end at its highest in nearly 15 months. Vietcombank gained 0.8 percent.    

Vingroup JSC rose 4.6 percent to close at its highest since Sept. 30, 2016. The real estate company's stock traded heavily, clocking over four-times its 30-day average.    

Singapore rose 0.5 percent, lifted primarily by Thai Beverage PCL, up 6.8 percent at its highest in three months after reporting a 28 percent jump in its quarterly net profit.   

Index heavyweight Singapore Telecommunications Ltd rose 0.8 percent to close at its highest since Oct 2016.   

Philippines reversed early gains and fell 0.5 percent to its lowest in almost a month, weighed down by financial stocks.

Conglomerate Ayala Corp and Bank of the Philippine Islands closed 1.8 percent lower. In contrast, International Container Terminal Services Inc gained 2.8 percent, recovering from the previous sessions heavy losses.

The Indonesian stock market was closed for local elections.

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