May 24, 2018 / 4:27 AM / 5 months ago

SE Asia Stocks-Malaysia extends falls to 4th day; Indonesia up 2 pct

    * Malaysia index hits lowest in 5 months
    * Indonesia climbs for third session
    * Singapore Q1 GDP rises at faster pace than estimated

    By Karthika Suresh Namboothiri
    May 24 (Reuters) - Malaysian stocks fell for a fourth
straight session on Thursday as a widening probe over corruption
linked to the previous government and continued capital outflows
soured investor sentiment, while Indonesia soared for the third
day running.
    The Malaysian index slid 2 percent to 1,768.18, its
lowest level in five months.
    Prime Minister Mahathir Mohamad vowed to cut the national
debt of 1 trillion ringgit ($250 billion) during his first
cabinet meeting this term, and widened an investigation into the
scandal-hit state fund 1Malaysia Development Berhad (1MDB).

    "The political malaise is weakening MYR (ringgit) and that
usually triggers some outflow. But I also believe the local
markets are caught up in the risk aversion," said Stephen Innes,
head of trading APAC at Oanda.
    "Foreign money is not finding the situation very reassuring
even more so with the stronger USD and higher U.S. yields making
servicing Malaysia's foreign debt even that much more
expensive," he added.
    Financials dragged, with Malayan Banking Bhd
falling as much as 7.6 percent, and Public Bank Bhd
dropping 2.8 percent.
    Indonesian shares rose as much as 2.1 percent with
Bank Central Asia climbing 2.3 percent, while
automotive retailer Astra International rose 3.2
percent.
    News reports of the government's plan to disburse its Eid
holiday bonus of 36 trillion rupiah (up from 18 trillion rupiah
last year and 23 trillion rupiah originally budgeted for this
year) is likely to push the Jakarta index up further, Trimegah
Securities said in a note.
    Increased bonuses to civil servants is seen as a way for the
government to support consumption in Indonesia, which has been
sluggish. 
    The country's index of 45 most liquid stocks was
up 2.6 percent.
    Singapore edged up 0.3 percent, led by industrials
and banks. 
    Lender Oversea-Chinese Banking Corp climbed 1.3
percent, while Singapore Airlines was 2.1 percent
higher.
    The city-state's economy grew at a slightly faster pace in
the first quarter than initially estimated, as factory activity
remained robust.

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SOUTHEAST ASIAN STOCK MARKETS AS AT 0347 GMT
 Change on the day                            
 Market             Current   Previous close  Pct Move
 Singapore          3509.33   3496.27         0.37
 Bangkok            1746.2    1753.6          -0.42
 Manila             7581.61   7560.47         0.28
 Jakarta            5916.736  5792.001        2.15
 Kuala Lumpur       1788.49   1804.25         -0.87
 Ho Chi Minh        991.26    988.94          0.23
                                              
 Change on year                               
 Market             Current   End 2017        Pct Move
 Singapore          3509.33   3402.92         3.13
 Bangkok            1746.2    1753.71         -0.43
 Manila             7581.61   8558.42         -11.41
 Jakarta            5916.736  6355.654        -6.91
 Kuala Lumpur       1788.49   1796.81         -0.46
 Ho Chi Minh        991.26    984.24          0.71
 
 (Reporting by Karthika Suresh Namboothiri; additional reporting
by Fransiska Nangoy in Jakarta; Editing by Sunil Nair)
  
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