February 4, 2019 / 4:13 AM / 8 months ago

SE Asia Stocks-Most fall, Philippines loses most

    * Malaysia on track to snap four sessions of losses
    * Philippines Jan inflation figures expected on Tuesday

    By Shreya Mariam Job
    Feb 4 (Reuters) - Most Southeast Asian stocks fell on Monday
in a lacklustre trading, with Philippines leading losses, as
optimism about a trade deal between the United States and China
    The Philippine benchmark index fell 0.6 percent ahead
of the country's inflation data, expected on Tuesday.
Industrials and financials dragged the index with SM Investments
Corp and BDO Unibank Inc dipping 1.6 percent
and 0.9 percent, respectively. 
    Investors were skeptical about the actual progress made at
the talks, especially with regard to core U.S. demands for
structural policy changes in China.
    Several people briefed on the talks said that while Chinese
negotiators engaged U.S. officials on intellectual property and
technology transfer practices, they did not bring any new
proposals to the table. 
    "Views are a tad too rosy, hopes rather elevated and
optimism getting ahead of far more sobering realities. Which is
to say that underlying vulnerabilities and consequent volatility
may not be put to bed, not just yet," said Vishnu Varathan,
senior economist at Mizuho Bank in a note.  
    Financials and consumer staples pulled the Indonesian index
 0.3 percent lower. Bank Central Asia Tbk PT
lost 1.9 percent, while Unilever Indonesia Tbk PT
dropped 1.3 percent.    
    Malaysian stocks led gains in the region, rising 0.4
percent and were on track to snap four sessions of losses. 
    Utility and healthcare stocks underpinned the index with IHH
Healthcare Bhd rising 1.4 percent and Tenaga Nasional
Bhd firming 1.7 percent. 
    The Philippine central bank looks certain to leave interest
rates on hold for a second straight meeting on Thursday, with
inflation expected to have slowed to 4.5 percent in January,
according to a Reuters poll.
    The central bank last week said January annual inflation is
likely to settle within a 4.3-5.1 percent range, which is ahead
of the 2-4 percent target of the bank. 
    "The underlying bias despite a rate hold this time around is
to tighten if elevated inflation does not soften soon enough,"
Varathan said.
    Thai stocks rose 0.3 percent, boosted by energy
counters amid strong oil prices.  
    PTT Exploration and Production PCL rose 1.2
percent while CP All PCL firmed 0.7 percent.
    Malaysia and Singapore markets are to close early today
ahead of a public holiday, while Vietnam's financial markets are
shut for Lunar New year.
For Asian Companies click;  

 Change on the day                                
 Market                 Current   Previous close  Pct Move
 Singapore              3187.67   3188.68         -0.03
 Bangkok                1655.46   1651.4          0.25
 Manila                 8094.47   8144.16         -0.61
 Jakarta                6516.696  6538.638        -0.34
 Kuala Lumpur           1690.82   1683.53         0.43
 Change so far in 2019                            
 Market                 Current   End 2018        Pct Move
 Singapore              3187.67   3068.76         3.87
 Bangkok                1655.46   1563.88         5.86
 Manila                 8094.47   7,466.02        8.42
 Jakarta                6516.696  6,194.50        5.20
 Kuala Lumpur           1690.82   1690.58         0.01

 (Reporting by Shreya Mariam Job in Bengaluru; Editing by
Shreejay Sinha)
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