December 17, 2018 / 10:07 AM / a month ago

SE Asia Stocks-Most fall as investors remain cautious; Singapore recovers

    * Singapore bucks trend as investors hunt for bargains
    * Indonesia posts widest trade deficit in 5 yrs in Nov
    * Vietnam biggest loser in region, down nearly 2 pct
    * Thai index closes at over 6-month low

    By Rashmi Ashok
    Dec 17 (Reuters) - Most Southeast Asian stock markets ended
lower on Monday, as investors remained cautious after the
region's biggest trading partner China posted disappointing
economic data on Friday, while dismal regional data added to
woes.
    On the upside, the Singapore benchmark index bucked
the weak trend to close 1.2 percent higher, as investors
shrugged off worse-than-expected November export data and went
bargain hunting after Friday's losses.
    "It looks like bargain-hunting, as valuations are at
attractive levels," said Joel Ng, an analyst at KGI Securities,
pointing to a 20-30 percent fall in Singaporean stocks over the
past six months.
    Earlier in the day, data showed that the country's exports
fell for the first time in eight months on a year-on-year basis
in November, with shipments to China, it's biggest market,
continuing their slowdown.
    Meanwhile, the Indonesia index closed 1.3 percent
lower, extending losses, after the country posted its widest
monthly trade deficit in over five years in November. 

    Southeast Asia's largest economy saw exports of palm oil and
pulp slump, while November imports stood at $16.88 billion, up
11.68 percent from a year earlier.
    Consumer stocks led losses with household products maker PT
Unilever Indonesia Tbk's counter falling 2.3 percent
and that of cigarette maker PT Gudang Garam Tbk
slipping 2 percent.
    The Vietnam index was the worst performer in the
region, tumbling 1.9 percent, with all major sectors in the red.
    Financials underpinned losses, with shares of Joint Stock
Commercial Bank for Foreign Trade of Vietnam (Vietcombank)
 falling 3 percent, and those in Vietnam Technological
And Commercial Joint Stock Bank down 4.4 percent.
    Thailand's benchmark index erased initial gains to
close 0.5 percent down — its lowest since July 6 — with
financial stocks, including those of Siam Commercial Bank PCL
  and Bank of Ayudhya PCL falling 2.5 percent
and 1.9 percent, respectively.
    Meanwhile, Thailand's central bank is expected to hike its
key interest rate on Wednesday from near-record lows for the
first time in more than seven years, a Reuters poll survey
showed.
    The Malaysian index finished 1.2 percent lower, with
shares of palm oil producer Sime Darby Plantation Berhad
 down 2.9 percent, while those of oil and gas services
provider Dialog Group Berhad closing 2.2 percent
lower.   
    

    
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SOUTHEAST ASIAN STOCK MARKETS
 Change on the day                            
 Market             Current   Previous close  Pct Move
 Singapore          3114.25   3077.09         1.21
 Bangkok            1601.48   1609.45         -0.50
 Manila             7520.4    7524.37         -0.05
 Jakarta            6089.305  6169.843        -1.31
 Kuala Lumpur       1641.62   1661.96         -1.22
 Ho Chi Minh        933.65    952.04          -1.93
                                              
 Change on year                               
 Market             Current   End prev yr     Pct Move
 Singapore          3114.25   3402.92         -8.48
 Bangkok            1601.48   1753.71         -8.68
 Manila             7520.4    8,558.42        -12.13
 Jakarta            6089.305  6,355.65        -4.19
 Kuala Lumpur       1641.62   1796.81         -8.64
 Ho Chi Minh        933.65    984.24          -5.14
 


 (Reporting by Rashmi Ashok in Bengaluru; Editing by Rashmi
Aich)
  
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