October 10, 2019 / 4:32 AM / 11 days ago

SE Asia Stocks-Most markets tepid amid trade anxiety; Philippines rises

    * High-level Sino-U.S. trade talks to begin on Thursday
    * The Philippines' Aug trade deficit narrows on-month
    * Energy and banking sectors dent Thailand index

    By Soumyajit Saha
    Oct 10 (Reuters) - Philippine stocks rose in low volumes,
while most other Southeast Asian markets held steady on
Thursday, as investors remained cautious as neither Washington
nor Beijing had shown signs of giving ground at the trade
negotiations. 
    U.S. S&P500 mini futures tumbled after media reports
cited that no progress was made in the deputy-level trade talks,
and that the Chinese delegation was planning to leave Washington
on Thursday after just one day of high-level talks, instead of
Friday as originally planned.
    Washington is weighing a currency pact with China as part of
a partial deal that could see a planned tariff hike next week
being suspended, Bloomberg reported citing sources familiar with
the talks.
    "I think we will see neutral markets as people are taking a
more cautionary approach and holding positions, given the risk
that the outcome of the talk might have a negative impact on the
markets," said Linus Loo, head of research, Lim & Tan
Securities.
    Hopes for a breakthrough are not high, but some investors
are trying to scale back their positions, at least temporarily,
because the outcome of the trade negotiations cannot be
predicted. 
    The Singapore index, which is among the most
vulnerable to the trade dispute with China being the region's
biggest trading partner, dropped to its weakest since Oct. 4. 
    Meanwhile, real-estate and banking sectors lifted the
Philippines' benchmark index, though volumes traded on
Thursday were a fraction of their monthly average. 
    Property developer SM Prime Holdings gained 1.6%,
while Bank of the Philippine Islands was up 1.7%.
    Philippines' trade deficit narrowed to $2.41 billion in
August from a deficit of $3.39 billion in July, as exports rose
0.6% year-on-year.
    Indonesian shares edged a tick higher, with Chandra
Asri Petrochemical climbing 1.8% and conglomerate
Astra International rising 0.8%.
    The Thai index set to close lower for a seventh
session in nine, dented by losses in energy and banking sectors.
Gas explorer PTT PCL dropped 2.2%, while lender Siam
Commercial Bank fell 0.9%.
        
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SOUTHEAST ASIAN STOCK MARKETS AS AT 0420 GMT
  STOCK MARKETS                                             
  Change on the day                                         
  Market             Current        Previous      Pct Move
                                    close         
  Singapore          3085.98        3089.9        -0.13
  Bangkok            1609.98        1616.18       -0.38
  Manila             7730.18        7681.25        0.64
  Jakarta            6034.329       6029.16        0.09
  Kuala Lumpur       1550.73        1551.23       -0.03
  Ho Chi Minh        990.34         987.83         0.25
                                                  
  Change so far in                                
 2019                                             
  Market             Current        End 2018      Pct Move
  Singapore          3085.98        3068.76       0.56
  Bangkok            1609.98        1563.88       2.95
  Manila             7730.18        7,466.02      3.54
  Jakarta            6034.329       6,194.50      -2.59
  Kuala Lumpur       1550.73        1690.58       -8.27
  Ho Chi Minh        990.34         892.54        10.96
 
 (Reporting by Soumyajit Saha in Bengaluru, Editing by Sherry
Jacob-Phillips)
  
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