April 7, 2017 / 10:19 AM / a year ago

SE Asia Stocks-Rebound after U.S. official says Syria strike a "one-off"

    By Sindhu Chandrasekaran
    April 7 (Reuters) - Most Southeast Asian stock markets
reversed course in the latter half of Friday to end higher after
a U.S. defense official said the missile strike on Syria was a
"one-off", meaning it was expected to be a single attack with no
current plans for escalation.
    Most of the regional markets were trading lower earlier in
the day after the United States fired cruise missiles at a
Syrian air base.
    "Geopolitical tension has put some selling pressure on the
regional markets," said Manny Cruz, an analyst with Manila-based
Asiasec Equities Inc.
    The markets ended higher as investors took a breather after
a U.S. official played down the risks of an escalation.

    However, Indonesia snapped four sessions of gains
and ended 0.5 percent lower. Financials led the losses with PT
Bank Mandiri (Persero) Tbk falling 1.8 percent. The
index ended the week 1.5 percent higher, extending gains into a
fourth week.
    The markets are also keeping an eye on the meeting between
Donald Trump and Chinese leader Xi Jinping.

    "On the political front, Trump-Xi meeting is in focus. The
main issue should be 1) North Korea, 2) Trades and 3) FX
policies," J.P. Morgan said in a note, adding that as China has
the "biggest trade imbalances with the U.S.," the focus is now
on how the U.S. will address trade and FX policies. 
    Philippine stocks rose as much as 1.4 percent to
their highest in over five months. Gains in real estate stocks
helped push up the index, which ended the week 3.7 percent
    "There has been buying momentum (in the Philippines) from
foreign investors which has pushed the index above the 7,700
barrier," Cruz said, adding that they have been selling
relentlessly in the first quarter of the year due to a lot of
political noise.
    The sentiment turned positive after the Philippines economic
planning minister said on Thursday that the economy is expected
to expand between 6.5 and 7 percent in the first quarter or
    Right now "we are looking forward to a GDP growth of near 7
pct as projected by the Philippines government", Cruz added.
    Vietnam shares ended 0.7 percent higher at their
highest since February 2008. Utilities accounted for nearly half
of the gains with Petrovietnam Gas Joint Stock Corp
gaining 4.4 percent.
    Malaysia, Singapore and Thailand were
up 0.1 percent each.
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 Change on the day                           
 Market              Current     previous   Pct Move
 Singapore           3177.27     3175.59    0.05
 Bangkok             1583.53     1582.12    0.09
 Manila              7583.75     7565.32    0.24
 Jakarta             5653.486    5680.239   -0.47
 Kuala Lumpur        1741.72     1739.56    0.12
 Ho Chi Minh         727.95      723.22     0.65
 Change on year                              
 Market              Current     End 2016   Pct Move
 Singapore           3177.27     2880.76    10.29
 Bangkok             1583.53     1542.94    2.63
 Manila              7583.75     6840.64    10.9
 Jakarta             5653.486    5296.711   6.74
 Kuala Lumpur        1741.72     1641.73    6.09
 Ho Chi Minh         727.95      664.87     9.5

 (Reporting by Sindhu Chandrasekaran; additional reporting by
Swati Pandey; Editing by Vyas Mohan)
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