July 5, 2019 / 10:15 AM / a year ago

SE Asia Stocks-Philippines gains on rate-cut hopes; Vietnam top weekly gainer

    * Philippines June inflation cools, sparks hopes of policy
    * Tenaga Nasional's 3.8% drop dents Malaysia index 
    * Thai stocks mark seventh consecutive weekly gain 

    By Rashmi Ashok
    July 5 (Reuters) - Philippine stocks ended firmer on Friday
in line with a broader global rally, after tepid local inflation
data fuelled hopes of a rate cut, while Malaysian shares were
tugged lower by heavy losses in utility giant Tenaga Nasional.
    Meanwhile, other markets traded in tight range ahead of the
U.S. non-farm payrolls data, due later in the day, which will
help make or break the case for a rate cut by the Federal
    Malaysia's index extended losses to a third session
after its third-largest stock - electricity supplier Tenaga
Nasional Berhad (TNB) - marked its lowest close in two
weeks. Tenaga largely enjoys a monopoly over the country's
electric utility services sector.
    News portal Malaysiakini reported here
 that the Ministry of Energy, Science, Technology, Environment
and Climate Change was studying a proposal to liberalise the
electricity retail sector and allow users to choose suppliers
other than TNB. 
    "Overall, we believe that the liberalisation of the retail
segment would be negative for Tenaga as operating profit margins
may be affected," AmInvestment Bank said in a note.
    Philippine stocks rallied on hopes of a rate cut as
early as August after data showed the country's annual inflation
easing to a near two-year low in June, as food and fuel costs
increased at a slower pace.
    It was also the first time since December 2017 that
inflation eased below the midpoint of the central bank's 2%-4%
target this year.
    "The Bangko Sentral ng Pilipinas (BSP) Governor Diokono has
hinted at further rate cuts on the back of falling inflation.
Persistent downside growth risks and falling inflation should
move the BSP for another 25bp rate cut as early as August," ING
note said.
    Singapore stocks ended lower on the back of
financials, but notched their fifth straight weekly gain. 
    Vietnamese stocks rose marginally and were the top
gainers in the region across the week, rising 2.7%. 
    Indonesian stocks closed flat, but climbed 0.2% for
the week in their sixth weekly gain.
    Thai stocks rose marginally across the week to post
their seventh straight weekly gain.
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 Change on the day                                
 Market                 Current   Previous close  Pct Move
 Singapore              3366.81   3372.25         -0.16
 Bangkok                1731.23   1724.37         0.40
 Manila                 8117.94   8064.92         0.66
 Jakarta                6373.477  6375.967        -0.04
 Kuala Lumpur           1682.53   1687.48         -0.29
 Ho Chi Minh            975.34    973.04          0.24
 Change so far in 2019                            
 Market                 Current   End 2018        Pct Move
 Singapore              3366.81   3068.76         9.71
 Bangkok                1731.23   1563.88         10.70
 Manila                 8117.94   7,466.02        8.73
 Jakarta                6373.477  6,194.50        2.89
 Kuala Lumpur           1682.53   1690.58         -0.48
 Ho Chi Minh            975.34    892.54          9.28

 (Reporting by Rashmi Ashok in Bengaluru, Editing by Sherry
Nuestros Estándares:Los principios Thomson Reuters
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