May 7, 2020 / 10:48 AM / 21 days ago

SE Asia Stocks-Philippines recovers on hopes of lockdown easing; Thailand falls

    * Philippines Q1 GDP falls for first time since 1998
    * Vietnam shares hit more than 2-week high
    * Singapore, Malaysia and Indonesia closed for holiday

    By Pranav A K
    May 7 (Reuters) - Philippine shares reversed course to end
higher on Thursday on  hopes the country would soon ease its
coronavirus-driven restrictions, while Thailand stocks fell on
gloomy outlook for its economy.
    The Philippine benchmark gained 0.3%, recovering from
a 0.7% fall earlier in the session after reporting an unexpected
slowdown in first-quarter economic growth as the coronavirus
pushes the economy towards a recession.
    "Investors brushed off the contraction in Q1 GDP with a
possibility that the country may ease the lockdown after May 15
as mentioned by the administration," said Luis Limlingan,
managing director at Manila-based brokerage firm Regina Capital
Development Corp. 
    After eight weeks of one of the world's strictest community
quarantines, Manila is set to reopen its economy at the end of
next week.
    Shares of conglomerate Ayala Corp gained 3.1% and
helped boost the index, while real estate company Robinsons Land
Corporation added 4%.
    On the flip side, The Thai stock index closed down
1.5% to clock its biggest one-day percentage loss April 16 as
investors returned from a market holiday. 
    A group of leading business associations in Thailand said
Southeast Asia's second largest economy may shrink 3% to 5% this
year, sharply down from growth of 1.5% to 2.0% projected in
    Thai stocks have risen about 30% from its March lows on
hopes that the lockdown would be lifted but these gains are in
danger as first-quarter earnings are expected to plummet and Q2
will likely be "even worse", said Sunthorn Thongthip, strategist
for Kasikorn Securities.
    Financial stocks were the main laggards in Thailand, with
Thaire Life Assurance PCL diving 9.3% and Ratchthani
Leasing falling 6.6%.    
    Helping market sentiment was data from China showing exports
came in better-than-expected in April for the first time this
year, suggesting factory activity in Southeast Asia's largest
trading partner is recovering faster than expected.
    Vietnam shares rose 1.8% and posted third straight
session of gains, lifted by consumer staples and financials.
    Shares of seafood processing company Vinh Hoan Corp
and Saigon Beer Alcohol Beverage Corp leaped 7% each.  
    Markets in Singapore, Malaysia and Indonesia were closed on
Thursday for a holiday.
For Asian Companies click;  

 STOCK MARKETS                                   
 Change on the day                               
 Market                 Current  Previous close  Pct Move
 Bangkok                1257.98  1278.63         -1.62
 Manila                 5653.16  5639.27         0.25
 Ho Chi Minh            796.54   782.59          1.78
 Change so far in 2020                           
 Market                 Current  End 2019        Pct Move
 Bangkok                1257.98  1579.84         -20.37
 Manila                 5653.16  7,815.26        -27.67
 Ho Chi Minh            796.54   960.99          -17.11

 (Reporting by A K Pranav in Bengaluru; Editing by Amy Caren
Nuestros Estándares:Los principios Thomson Reuters
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