SE Asia Stocks-Vietnam surges to 8-yr high on lending outlook; Philippines falls
By Shashwat Pradhan July 7 (Reuters) - Vietnam shares rallied to a more than eight-year high on Thursday on expectations of an increase in credit flows, while Philippine stocks fell for a second straight session with financials leading the losses. Asian share markets inched up, with MSCI's broadest index of Asia-Pacific shares outside Japan gaining 0.8 percent, after upbeat U.S. economic data took some of the sting out of the Brexit scare. Sentiment across the region got a lift from a survey showing activity in the giant U.S. services sector hit a seven-month high in June as new orders surged and companies hired more. The signs of underlying strength in the economy suggested it could withstand the financial markets turbulence, sparked by uncertainty following last month's stunning vote in Britain to leave the European Union, economists said. In commodity markets, oil prices edged up for a second day, supported by a report of another fall in U.S. crude oil inventories and a weaker dollar. Vietnam's benchmark stock index rose 1.8 percent to its highest level since March 2008, driven by financial and consumer stocks. Banks in Vietnam expect lending this year to surpass targets, growing 20.4 percent over 2015, fuelled by stronger credit demand and better business conditions, the central bank said on Wednesday. "This is a retail-driven rally, spurred by positive liquidity, margin lending and optimism over the direction of the new government... The commodity rally is also supportive," said Fiachra MacCana of Ho Chi Minh Securities. Thai shares rose to their highest since July last year on strong performance by energy and financials, while Philippine shares extended losses with financials accounting for more than half of the falls. Malaysia and Indonesia were closed on Thursday for Eid-al-Fitr. For Asian Companies click; SOUTHEAST ASIAN STOCK MARKETS STOCK MARKETS Change on the day Market Current previous Pct Move close Singapore 2862.17 2864.67 -0.09 Bangkok 1456.72 1452.59 0.28 Manila 7753.46 7808.13 -0.70 Ho Chi Minh 661.12 649.46 1.80 Change so far this year Market Current End prev yr Pct Move Singapore 2862.17 2882.73 -0.71 Bangkok 1456.72 1288.02 13.10 Manila 7753.46 6952.08 11.53 Ho Chi Minh 661.12 579.03 14.18 (Reporting by Shashwat Pradhan; Editing by Subhranshu Sahu)
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