February 21, 2019 / 10:12 AM / 7 months ago

SE Asia Stocks-Most rise on hopes of U.S.-China trade deal by March 1 deadline

    * Vietnam hits over 4-month high
    * Indonesian c.bank holds interest rates
    * Malaysia gains for fourth straight session

    By Shreya Mariam Job
    Feb 21 (Reuters) - Most Southeast Asian stock markets closed
higher on Thursday, with Vietnam leading gains, as progress in
Sino-U.S. trade talks raised hopes of reaching a deal by March
1, after which the United States plans to increase tariffs on
Chinese goods. 
    The United States and China have started to outline
commitments in principle on the stickiest issues in their trade
dispute, marking the most significant progress yet toward ending
a seven-month trade war, according to sources familiar with the
    "We remain cautiously optimistic on the current Sino-U.S.
trade situation, as there is still a possibility of the talks
ending up in failure, as the March 1 deadline has not been
officially extended yet," a note from Singapore based Phillip
Futures said.
    China, the region's biggest trade partner, is looking at a
25 percent tariff on $200 billion worth of goods, rising from
the current 10 percent if the world's biggest economies do not
iron out a deal by March 1.
    Vietnam index rose to an over four-month closing
high, leading gains in the region with real estate stocks
boosting the index. Index heavyweights Vinhomes JSC and
Vietnam Dairy Products JSC rose 7 percent and 3.9
percent, respectively.
    The Indonesian benchmark rose 0.4 percent on the
back of financial and energy stocks, with Bank Mandiri Tbk PT
 rising 3.2 percent and Perusahaan Gas Negara (Persero)
Tbk PT gaining 6 percent. 
    Indonesia's central bank kept its benchmark interest rate
unchanged on Thursday, as expected, reiterating that its main
objective remained preserving financial stability and reducing
the current account deficit.
    The Malaysian index ended 0.3 percent higher,
posting its fourth consecutive gain, with index heavyweights
Tenaga Nasional Bhd and Cimb Group Holdings Bhd
 rising 0.9 percent and 1.4 percent, respectively. 
    Meanwhile, the Philippine benchmark slipped
marginally lower, dragged heavily by industrials. Aboitiz Equity
Ventures Inc dropped 2.3 percent, while SM Prime
Holdings Inc shed 1 percent.  
    "I think this is just some sort of correction in the market
because Philippines rallied yesterday. This slowdown right now
is probably due to a bit of stagnation in foreign inflows," said
Miguel Ong, an analyst at AP Securities.      

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 Change on the day                                
 Market                 Current   Previous close  Pct Move
 Singapore              3277.91   3278.38         -0.01
 Bangkok                1647.36   1645.38         0.12
 Manila                 7931.3    7939.24         -0.10
 Jakarta                6537.766  6512.784        0.38
 Kuala Lumpur           1730.68   1726.18         0.26
 Ho Chi Minh            987.57    970.58          1.75
 Change so far in 2019                            
 Market                 Current   End 2018        Pct Move
 Singapore              3277.91   3068.76         6.82
 Bangkok                1647.36   1563.88         5.34
 Manila                 7931.3    7,466.02        6.23
 Jakarta                6537.766  6,194.50        5.54
 Kuala Lumpur           1730.68   1690.58         2.37
 Ho Chi Minh            987.57    892.54          10.65
 (Reporting by Shreya Mariam Job in Bengaluru; Editing by Rashmi
Nuestros Estándares:Los principios Thomson Reuters
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