February 7, 2019 / 10:09 AM / 5 months ago

SE Asia Stocks-Most rise on hopes of trade deal, Malaysia leads pack

    * Singapore posts near two-week closing high
    * Philippine c-bank holds key interest rates

    By Shreya Mariam Job
    Feb 7 (Reuters) - Most Southeast Asian stock markets rose on
Thursday with Malaysia leading the gains, as optimism over a
trade deal between the U.S. and China were renewed following
indications of further official talks in Beijing next week. 
    U.S. Treasury Secretary Steven Mnuchin said on Wednesday
that he and other U.S. officials would travel to Beijing to
continue trade talks, eyeing a deal before the March 2 deadline.

    China is the biggest trading partner of the region.
    With easing trade frictions, a dovish Fed and prospects of
increased infrastructure spending, foreign investors are now
returning to Southeast Asian markets, propelling these markets
to record an upward trend for the most part.
    So far this year, foreign investors have been net buyers of
stocks in markets such as Indonesia, the Philippines, Thailand
and Vietnam.
    The Malaysian benchmark rose 0.6 percent, leading
gains in the region after thin trading in the region this week
due to a two-day closure on account of the Chinese New Year.
    Utilities and consumer cyclicals boosted the Malaysian
benchmark index, with Tenaga Nasional Bhd and Maxis Bhd
 climbing 3.7 percent and 2.5 percent, respectively.
    The Singapore index gained 0.5 percent to its highest
level since Jan. 25, helped by telecom and industrial stocks.
    "Singapore equities has some catching up to do as the U.S.
markets have done well over the last two trading sessions. At
the same time, traders are also placing bets ahead of the budget
on February 18, 2019," said Liu Jinshu, head of research at
Tayrona Financial Pte Ltd.
    Shares of Singapore Telecommunications Ltd gained
1 percent while those of Jardine Matheson Holdings Ltd
firmed 1.3 percent.
    The Philippine stock index climbed 0.5 percent, with
gains concentrated in industrial stocks. SM Investments Corp
 and JG Summit Holdings Inc gained over 2
percent each.
     The Philippine central bank kept its benchmark interest
rate steady for a second straight meeting on Thursday, saying
inflation risk had fallen on lower crude oil and food prices.

    Meanwhile, the Thai index dipped 0.3 percent,
dragged by consumer and health care stocks. Shares of Bangkok
Dusit Medical Services PCL and Siam Makro PCL
 dropped 1.3 percent and 3.3 percent, respectively. 
    A Thai shipping body on Thursday said Thailand's exports may
stagnate this year if the U.S.-Sino trade dispute continues and
the baht keeps strengthening.
    Indonesian stocks also ended the session slightly
lower, hurt by consumer and financial stocks. Charoen Pokphand
Indonesia Tbk PT slipped 2.8 percent, while Bank
Central Asia Tbk PT slid 0.5 percent.
    Vietnam financial markets remained closed for Chinese
New Year holidays.
For Asian Companies click;  

 Change on the day                                
 Market                 Current   Previous close  Pct Move
 Singapore              3200.64   3184.56         0.50
 Bangkok                1653.11   1658.71         -0.34
 Manila                 8100.3    8058.45         0.52
 Jakarta                6536.457  6547.877        -0.17
 Kuala Lumpur           1693.39   1683.61         0.58
 Change so far in 2019                            
 Market                 Current   End 2018        Pct Move
 Singapore              3200.64   3068.76         4.30
 Bangkok                1653.11   1563.88         5.71
 Manila                 8100.3    7,466.02        8.50
 Jakarta                6536.457  6,194.50        5.52
 Kuala Lumpur           1693.39   1690.58         0.17

 (Reporting by Shreya Mariam Job in Bengaluru; Editing by Rashmi
Nuestros Estándares:Los principios Thomson Reuters
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