* 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 2.2%. "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. For Asian Companies click; SOUTHEAST ASIAN STOCK MARKETS As at 0327 GMT 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)
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