March 18, 2020 / 10:19 AM / 21 days ago

SE Asia Stocks-Most end lower on fears of economic hit from coronavirus

    * Singapore ends lower for a sixth straight session
    * Indonesia and Thailand announce stimulus packages
    * Philippines stock exchange set to reopen on March 19

    By Arpit Nayak
    March 18 (Reuters) - Most Southeast Asian stock markets gave
up early gains to end lower on Wednesday, as fears over the
economic damage from the coronavirus contagion overshadowed
stimulus measures from major central banks.
    Markets across the region struggled to hold on to gains as a
rising number of virus cases forced lockdowns and travel bans in
a bid to restrict the spread of the virus.
    "Financial markets have been volatile these past few days,
to say the least," said Venkateswaran Lavanya, analyst at Mizuho
Bank, in a note.
    "We still think that financial market contagion resulting in
a self-perpetuating financial crisis remains a real and present
danger."
    Singapore stocks ended 1.2% lower, after rising more
than 3% earlier, as worries emerged that the country may be
headed towards its first full-year recession in nearly 20 years
as Malaysia's travel ban robs the city-state of a key source of
labour.
    The index ended lower for a sixth straight session.
    Conglomerate Jardine Strategic Holdings dropped
3.6%, while real estate firm Capitaland eased 2.8%.
    Malaysia's bourse fell as much as 1.4%, as the
country went into a two-week partial lockdown after a spike in
coronavirus cases.
    The Indonesian index ended 2.8% lower as financial
and consumer sectors took the biggest hits, with Bank Mandiri
(Persero) falling 6.8% and household goods maker
Unilever Indonesia dropping 6.9%.
    Indonesia said it would reallocate 17.17 trillion rupiah
($1.13 billion) from its 2020 state budget in a bid to blunt the
economic impact of the virus.
    The stimulus comes ahead of an expected cut to the central
bank's key policy rate at a meeting on Thursday.
    Thai equities bucked the trend to rise 1.3% after
the central bank said it had bought bonds worth $1 billion to
boost liquidity.
    The telecom and financial sectors were the biggest gainers,
as mobile phone operator Advanced Info Service and 
Kasikornbank added 4.4% and 1.5%, respectively.
    Trading remained suspended on the Philippine bourse
but was set to resume on Thursday, despite a lockdown across the
island of Luzon where capital Manila is located.
    

    
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SOUTHEAST ASIAN STOCK MARKETS
  Change on the                                    
 day                                       
  Market          Current      Previous    Pct Move
                               close       
  Singapore       2425.62      2454.53     -1.18
  Bangkok         1048.15      1035.17     1.25
  Jakarta         4330.674     4456.749    -2.83
  Kuala Lumpur    1239.01      1256.58     -1.40
 Ho Chi Minh      747.66       745.78      0.25
                                           
  Change so far                            
 in 2020                                   
  Market          Current      End 2019    Pct Move
  Singapore       2425.62      3222.83     -24.74
  Bangkok         1048.15      1579.84     -33.65
  Manila          5335.37      7,815.26    -31.73
  Jakarta         4330.674     6,299.54    -31.25
  Kuala Lumpur    1239.01      1588.76     -22.01
  Ho Chi Minh     747.66       960.99      -22.20
 


 (Reporting by Arpit Nayak; Editing by Amy Caren Daniel)
  
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