October 23, 2019 / 4:49 AM / 23 days ago

SE Asia Stocks-Markets drop on profit-booking; Philippines leads declines

    * Investors watch for signs of thaw in the U.S.-China trade
war
    * Indonesia set to snap eight sessions of gains
    * Singapore marks worst session in two weeks

    By Sameer Manekar
    Oct 23 (Reuters) - Southeast Asian stock markets dropped on
Wednesday, with the Philippines leading declines, on prolonged
U.S.-China trade spat and as investors locked in profits
following a recent rally.  
    Investors are also closely watching for signs of a thaw in
the U.S.-China trade war, which has cast a shadow over financial
markets and global economic growth.  
    An exclusive Reuters report that one of the U.S. advisers to
U.S. President Donald Trump on trade talks with China will leave
government could introduce some uncertainty about future trade
talks.
    Shares in Singapore, which is highly vulnerable to headlines
coming out of the trade talks, declined with the Straits Times
index marking its worst session in two weeks.
    "Blue-chips suffered profit-taking activities after big
gains over the last two days," CMC Singapore Markets said in a
note. 
    Financials and industrial sectors dragged the Singapore
index lower, with City Developments and Jardine
Matheson Holdings shedding 1.7% and 2.5%,
respectively.  
    "A healthy correction, however, does not change our view
that emerging markets are on their upward trajectory to narrow
the valuation gap with developed markets," the note cited.     
    Leading declines in the region, the Philippine bourse
slipped 0.7%, dented by losses in financials and consumer firms.
    "Investors are still on the sidelines waiting for the
partial trade deal or the potential phase one deal between the
United States and China," Rachelle Cruz, analyst at AP
Securities said, adding that markets are seeing a correction
after the previous sessions' gains.
    BDO Unibank and SM Investments Corp were
among the biggest losers, slipping 1.7% and 1.2%, respectively.
    The Indonesian market was set to snap an
eight-session winning streak, with consumer and healthcare
sectors falling the most. 
    Auto manufacturer Astra International and pharma
company Kalbe Farma lost 1.5% and 1.8%, respectively.
    Bank Indonesia on Thursday is expected to cut its benchmark
rate for a fourth consecutive month to support the economy, a
Reuters poll showed.
    Malaysian shares retreated from previous session's
gains to drop 0.6%, with Hong Leong Financial Group
and Sime Darby Plantation slipping 2.6% and 1.9%,
respectively.
    The country's inflation rose at a slower pace than expected
in September from a year earlier, data showed on Wednesday. In
May, Bank Negara Malaysia cut its key interest rate for the
first time since 2016, amid low inflation and concerns over
slowing growth.
    Thailand markets were closed for a holiday.
        
For Asian Companies click;  

SOUTHEAST ASIAN STOCK MARKETS AS AT 0438 GMT 
    
 Market                 Current   Previous close  Pct Move
 Singapore              3139.99   3160.67         -0.65
 Manila                 7898.03   7955.24         -0.72
 Jakarta                6217.939  6225.497        -0.12
 Kuala Lumpur           1564.92   1574.09         -0.58
 Ho Chi Minh            986.23    987.19          -0.10
                                                  
 Change so far in 2019                            
 Market                 Current   End 2018        Pct Move
 Singapore              3139.99   3068.76         2.32
 Bangkok                1631.46   1563.88         4.32
 Manila                 7898.03   7,466.02        5.79
 Jakarta                6217.939  6,194.50        0.38
 Kuala Lumpur           1564.92   1690.58         -7.43
 Ho Chi Minh            986.23    892.54          10.50
 
 (Reporting by Sameer Manekar in Bengaluru, Editing by Sherry
Jacob-Phillips)
  
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