SE Asia Stocks-Most drop as differing views on trade deal curb sentiment

    * Important differences between Washington and Beijing have
    * 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
    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
    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
    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
    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;  

 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