* Important differences between Washington and Beijing have risen * The Philippine index hits lowest since Oct 4 * Malaysian equities extend losses for a second session By Shruti Sonal Dec 17 (Reuters) - Most Southeast Asian stock markets edged lower on Tuesday, with the Philippine index leading declines, as investors avoided making big bets amid conflicting views from Washington and Beijing on the interim trade deal announced last week. The White House and Beijing have been locked in a 17-month trade war punctuated by an agreements-in-principal that fell over specific details in May. U.S. National Economic Council Director Larry Kudlow said late Monday that the "phase-one" trade deal has been "absolutely completed". Chinese officials, however, have been more cautious, emphasizing that the trade dispute has not been completely settled. The Philippine bourse extended losses to mark its lowest since Oct. 4, weighed by utility stocks as strained relations between the government and local water utilities curbed risk appetite. Last week, the Philippines' water regulator cancelled the extension of concession deals with the country's two largest utilities Manila Water Co Inc and Maynilad Water Services on pressure from President Rodrigo Duterte. "On the sentiment side, the negative effect is going to last until some positive development happens between the regulator and the companies," said Charles William Ang, associate analyst at COL Financial Group, Inc in a note. DMCI Holdings, a major shareholder of Maynilad Water Services, slumped over 8% and was the biggest percentage loser in the index. The Singapore benchmark slipped marginally after a contraction in the trade-reliant economy's non-oil domestic exports. However, analysts are hopeful for a return to expansion from December onwards. "November's contraction of 5.9% yoy might possibly be the last in a run stretching back from March 2019," said Howie Lee, economist, OCBC Treasury Research. Malaysian equities were extending losses to a second consecutive session, with utility and consumer stocks dragging the index lower. Palm oil producer Kuala Lumpur Kepong Bhd fell over 3.7%, while utility firm Petronas Gas Bhd dropped 3.9%. Indonesian stocks were poised to close firmer for a third straight session, lifted by gains in consumer and financials. Destinati Tirta Nusantara and Pool Advista Finance surged over 24% each. For Asian Companies click; SOUTHEAST ASIAN STOCK MARKETS AS at 0452 GMT Market Current Previous close Pct Move Singapore 3204.77 3206.09 -0.04 Bangkok 1549.89 1549.74 0.01 Manila 7678.55 7701.6 -0.30 Jakarta 6220.721 6211.592 0.15 Kuala Lumpur 1566.67 1569.35 -0.17 Ho Chi Minh 960.06 961.47 -0.15 Change so far in 2019 Market Current End 2018 Pct Move Singapore 3204.77 3068.76 4.43 Bangkok 1549.89 1563.88 -0.89 Manila 7678.55 7,466.02 2.85 Jakarta 6220.721 6,194.50 0.42 Kuala Lumpur 1566.67 1690.58 -7.33 Ho Chi Minh 960.06 892.54 7.56 (Reporting by Shruti Sonal in Bengaluru; Editing by Sherry Jacob-Phillips)
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