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SE Asia Stocks-Drop as U.S.-Iran tensions dampen sentiment, Thailand falls most

    * Singapore slips most in over six weeks
    * Thai stocks finish 1.7% lower
    * Vietnam falls most in over one month

    By Sameer Manekar
    Jan 6 (Reuters) - Southeast Asian equities ended lower on
Monday on growing fears over escalating U.S.-Iran tensions,
which led to a spike in oil prices and a decrease in risk
appetite of investors.
    U.S. President Donald Trump on Sunday warned of "major
retaliation" if Iran strikes back for the killing of its
military commander Qassem Soleimani last week.
    Oil prices rose a further 2% on Monday, pushing Brent above
$70 a barrel, after Trump on Sunday threatened to impose
sanctions on Iraq after its parliament passed a resolution
calling for an end to all foreign troop presence.

    "A severe escalation of tensions in the Middle East, or even
outright hostilities, has the potential to easily subsume any
benefits gained from the interim U.S.-China trade agreement,"
Jeffrey Halley, an analyst at OANDA, said in a note.
    "The price actions of Friday and this morning (Monday)
suggest that early casualties will be emerging markets and
regional Asia," he added, highlighting Asia's dependence on oil
    Thai stocks led the declines in the region, ending
1.7% lower, with Kasikornbank Pcl and Siam Cement Pcl
 among the top drags, losing 5.9% and 3.6%,
    Financials weighed on the Indonesian equities, with
Bank Central Asia and Bank Mega Tbk shedding
1% and 10.2%, respectively.
    Financials and consumer firms were among the top losers on
Malaysia's benchmark index, which fell 0.9%.
    Heavyweights Malayan Banking and Sime Darby
Plantation shed 1.1% and 2.2%, respectively.
    Singapore's benchmark index slipped the most in over
six weeks. Heavyweights DBS Group Holdings and Jardine
Strategic Holdings shed 0.5% and 0.9% each.
    The Philippine bourse trimmed its losses to finish
0.5% lower, with property developer SM Prime Holdings
and consumer food firm Universal Robina Corp losing
1.4% and 1%.
    President Rodrigo Duterte signed a 4.1 trillion peso ($79.97
billion) budget for this year, up 12% from last year, to ensure
timely funding for an infrastructure overhaul in the country.

    The Vietnamese index fell most in over one month,
with financials and real estate stocks being the top losers.
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 Change on the day                                
 Market                 Current   Previous close  Pct Move
 Singapore              3218.86   3238.82         -0.62
 Bangkok                1568.5    1594.97         -1.66
 Manila                 7797.87   7839.79         -0.53
 Jakarta                6257.403  6323.466        -1.04
 Kuala Lumpur           1597.76   1611.38         -0.85
 Ho Chi Minh            955.79    965.14          -0.97
 Change so far in 2020                            
 Market                 Current   End 2019        Pct Move
 Singapore              3218.86   3222.83         -0.12
 Bangkok                1568.5    1579.84         -0.72
 Manila                 7797.87   7,815.26        -0.22
 Jakarta                6257.403  6,299.54        -0.67
 Kuala Lumpur           1597.76   1588.76         0.57
 Ho Chi Minh            955.79    960.99          -0.54
 (Reporting by Sameer Manekar in Bengaluru; Editing by Rashmi