SE Asia Stocks-Most markets rise on Sino-U.S. trade deal optimism

    * Thailand hits highest in nearly a month 
    * Indonesia up for fourth straight session 
    * Philippines rises to near two-week high

    By Shreya Mariam Job
    Dec 27 (Reuters) - Most Southeast Asian stock markets rose
on Friday, with Philippine shares leading the pack, as investor
sentiment was boosted by hopes that China and the United States
would sign a Phase 1 trade deal early next year.
    China's Commerce Ministry said on Thursday Beijing was in
close contact with the United States about the initial
agreement, after U.S. President Donald Trump on Tuesday talked
up a signing ceremony for the recently struck deal.

    Increased trade optimism helped MSCI's broadest index of
Asia-Pacific shares outside Japan rise 0.55% to
555.25, a level not seen since mid-2018.
    Boosting investor sentiment further data out of China, the
region's biggest trading partner, showed profits at industrial
firms in November grew at the fastest pace in eight months and
snapped a three-month declining streak.
    However, an official with the statistics bureau cautioned
that the rebound was not an indication of a sustained recovery. 
    Philippine stocks gained the most among Southeast
Asian markets, rising as much as 0.6% to their highest in nearly
two weeks.
    Industrial and real estate stocks drove the gains, with 
Robinsons Land Corp rising 2.8%, while SM Prime
Holdings Inc climbed more than 1%. 
    Consumer and material stocks helped Thai shares rise
to their highest in nearly a month. Index heavyweight CP All
 gained 1%, while Indorama Ventures rose
    "However, we believe gains could be kept in check by
lingering domestic political concerns and investors'
unwillingness to make any big moves ahead of the long New Year
holidays," Phillip Capital said in a note. 
    Earlier this month, Thailand saw its biggest protest since a
2014 coup after authorities moved to ban a party that has
rallied opposition to the government of former military ruler
Prayuth Chan-ocha.
    Indonesian shares rose for a fourth straight
session, propped up by consumer stocks. Consumer goods company
Unilever Indonesia Tbk Pt and real estate firm Plaza
Indonesia gained 0.7% and 13.3%, respectively.     
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 Change on the day                                
 Market                 Current   Previous close  Pct Move
 Singapore              3227.13   3222.99         0.13
 Bangkok                1585.97   1579.03         0.44
 Manila                 7886.21   7842.28         0.56
 Jakarta                6335.853  6319.443        0.26
 Kuala Lumpur           1602.64   1603.55         -0.06
 Ho Chi Minh            956.98    958.59          -0.17
 Change so far in 2019                            
 Market                 Current   End 2018        Pct Move
 Singapore              3227.13   3068.76         5.16
 Bangkok                1585.97   1563.88         1.41
 Manila                 7886.21   7,466.02        5.63
 Jakarta                6335.853  6,194.50        2.28
 Kuala Lumpur           1602.64   1690.58         -5.20
 Ho Chi Minh            956.98    892.54          7.22

 (Reporting by Shreya Mariam Job in Bengaluru; Editing by
Subhranshu Sahu)