August 8, 2018 / 10:16 AM / a year ago

SE Asia Stocks-Philippines jumps to near 3-month closing high

    * Malaysia closes at highest level in 2-1/2 months
    * Singapore shares fall, financials drag
    * Thailand rises 0.8 pct, cenbank holds rate

    By Karthika Suresh Namboothiri
    Aug 8 (Reuters) - Most Southeast Asian stock markets rose on
Wednesday, with Philippine shares bouncing back to their highest
close in nearly three months ahead of economic growth data and a
central bank meeting.
    The key Philippine stock index closed 1.6 percent
higher, with holding firms and property plays leading the
    Inflation surged in July, but the rise in U.S. stock markets
on Tuesday as well as the positioning ahead of second-quarter
GDP data bolstered investor confidence, said Manny Cruz, an
analyst with Manila-based Asiasec Equities Inc.
    The Philippine central bank looks certain to raise interest
rates for a third time this year at its meeting on Thursday,
which comes after government data showed annual inflation moved
further above its 2 percent-4 percent target range for 2018.

    The economy likely expanded at a slightly slower pace in the
second quarter, according to a Reuters poll. 
    However, imports in June grew at the fastest pace this year
while exports dipped, bringing the trade deficit to more than $3
billion for a third straight month, government data showed.
    Among top gainers on Wednesday, property developer SM Prime
Holdings rose 2.9 percent to its highest close since
Jan. 29.
    Thai shares closed 0.8 percent higher after rising
as much as 1 percent to their highest since June 13. Gas
supplier PTT Public Co gained 1.4 percent, while
Bangkok Dusit Medical Services climbed 3.9 percent.
    The Thai central bank held its benchmark interest rate near
record lows, as expected, saying Southeast Asia's second-largest
economy continued to face little inflationary pressure as growth
pace improved.
    Malaysian shares climbed 0.8 percent to a
two-and-half-month closing high, while Indonesian stocks
erased early gains to end slightly higher.
    Singapore shares declined 0.4 percent, dragged by
financials. DBS Group Holdings fell 3 percent to a
two-week closing low, while Oversea-Chinese Banking Corp
 edged lower.
    Asia shares ex-Japan rose in the middle of a
strong second-quarter U.S. earnings season and on expectations
that China will ramp up fiscal stimulus to cushion the impact of
its trade dispute with the United States.

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 Change on the day                            
 Market             Current   Previous close  Pct Move
 Singapore          3326.74   3340            -0.40
 Bangkok            1721.64   1707.26         0.84
 Manila             7851.46   7725.85         1.63
 Jakarta            6094.829  6091.25         0.06
 Kuala Lumpur       1804.73   1791.09         0.76
 Ho Chi Minh        966.27    956.79          0.99
 Change on year                               
 Market             Current   End 2017        Pct Move
 Singapore          3326.74   3402.92         -2.24
 Bangkok            1721.64   1753.71         -1.83
 Manila             7851.46   8558.42         -8.26
 Jakarta            6094.829  6355.654        -4.10
 Kuala Lumpur       1804.73   1796.81         0.44
 Ho Chi Minh        966.27    984.24          -1.83
 (Additional reporting by Sumeet Gaikwad; Editing by Subhranshu
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