January 25, 2017 / 11:07 AM / a year ago

SE Asia Stocks-Cautious as investors digest Trump's protectionist policies

By Hanna Paul
    Jan 25 (Reuters) - Most Southeast Asian stock markets were
flat to slightly higher on Wednesday amid signs U.S. President
Donald Trump's protectionist trade policies would help push
Asian countries towards their own regional trade alliances.
    Trump formally withdrew the United States from the
Trans-Pacific Partnership trade deal on Monday, distancing
America from its Asian allies, with Thailand's central bank
governor saying the pullout could "provide a better opportunity
for some of the regional trade agreements." 
    Veerathai Santiprabhob cited as an example the
Beijing-favoured Regional Comprehensive Economic Partnership, a
proposed free-trade agreement which includes Southeast Asian
nations, China, India, Japan, South Korea, Australia and New
Zealand - but not the United States. nL5N1FE0VJ
    "U.S. pulling out of the TPP in fact can be a net positive
for Asia considering China or any other Asian country can fill
the vacuum and we can renegotiate our own trade partnership,"
said Victor Felix, an analyst with AB Capital Securities in
    Vietnam hit a near 9-year closing high on Wednesday
as blue-chips surged.
    "Investors have a positive outlook for the domestic market
for the year," said Tran Minh Hoang, chief economist of
Vietcombank Securities.
    Industrial heavyweight Cotec Construction was up
nearly 2 percent, while Vietcombank rose 1.8 percent to
hit a nearly 5-mth closing high.     
    "Almost all blue-chips such as Vietcombank and Vinamilk
 began surging by the end of trade," said Bui Nguyen
Khoa, head of macro research at BIDV Securities Company in a
    Thailand, Indonesia and Malaysia 
ended marginally higher on the day.   
    Philippines fell 0.6 percent on profit-taking and
ahead of the release of economic data later in the week. 
    Index heavyweights such as conglomerate Ayala Corp 
and telecommunication giant PLDT Inc, both down 2.4
percent, dragged down the index.
    "Speculating the recent rally in prices, people are just
profit-taking ahead of the numbers tomorrow.. If the numbers
surpass expectations, it should be good tomorrow," said Charles
Ang from COL Financial Inc. 
    The Philippines' gross domestic product is expected to rise
a seasonally adjusted 1.6 percent in the fourth quarter from the
previous quarter, according to a Reuters poll. 
    Singapore stocks snapped four sessions of gains to
end lower, weighed down by real estate and industrial stocks and
after global oil prices fell. 
For Asian Companies click;  

  Market            Current       Previous Close  Pct Move
  Singapore         3039.94       3041.95         -0.07
  Bangkok           1584.29       1578.82         0.35
  Manila            7323.36       7370.65         -0.64
  Jakarta           5293.782      5292.088        0.03
  Kuala Lumpur      1683.93       1680.69         0.19
 Ho Chi Minh        697.28        691.36          0.86
  Change so far                                   
 this year                                        
  Market            Current       End 2016        Pct Move
  Singapore         3039.94       2880.76         5.53
  Bangkok           1584.29       1542.94         2.68
  Manila            7323.36       6840.64         7.06
  Jakarta           5293.782      5296.711        -0.06
  Kuala Lumpur      1683.93       1641.73         2.57
 Ho Chi Minh        697.28        664.87          4.87
 (Reporting by Hanna Paul; Editing by Biju Dwarakanath)
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