SE Asia Stocks-Most markets trim early gains as Mideast airstrikes hit sentiment

    * Senior Iran official killed in U.S. airstrike 
    * The Philippine index closes at more than one-week high
    * Singapore stocks dragged lower by financials

    By Shruti Sonal
    Jan 3 (Reuters) - Most Southeast Asian stock markets trimmed
early gains on Friday as mounting Middle Eastern tensions dented
sentiment, while the Philippine index closed 1.3% firmer after
investors picked up beaten-down stocks. 
    Risk appetite across global markets faltered after U.S.
airstrikes at Baghdad airport killed Iranian Major-General
Qassem Soleimani, heightening geopolitical tensions.  

    Most regional markets pulled back from session highs yet
ended in the black, with most of them posting solid weekly
gains, as a steady growth in China's production activity and its
central bank announcing a cut in banks' reserve ratio supported
the mood.
    Against the backdrop of a thaw in trade tensions between the
United States and China, global markets had seen renewed
appetite for risk assets.
    "Investors appear to bet that the initial caution will pass,
preferring to focus on the broader global recovery story," said
Jeffrey Halley, senior market analyst, Asia Pacific at OANDA.
    The Philippine index on Friday rebounded from
previous session's sharp decline to close at its highest in more
than a week, underpinned by industrial and consumer stocks. The
index gained 0.3% for the week.
    "The PSE has managed to bounce from yesterday mainly on
bargain hunting after the first day slump," said Nicholas
Antonio Mapa, senior economist at ING.  
    Universal Robina Corp and JG Summit Holdings Inc
 were the top percentage gainers in the benchmark index.
    Thai shares closed flat after rising to their
highest in more than five weeks.
    Losses in industrial and healthcare stocks offset gains in
energy shares that had rallied earlier in the day after the U.S.
airstrike stoked concerns about oil supply disruptions.
    Airports of Thailand Pcl fell as much as 2%
following brokerage Jefferies' note that said it expected the
company's domestic passengers growth to remain in a downward
trend in 2020.
    The Singapore index was dragged lower by financials,
but the benchmark posted weekly gains of 0.3%.
    DBS Group Holdings and Oversea-Chinese Banking
Corp Ltd slid about 1% each after China's Ant
Financial, an affiliate of Alibaba Group Holdings, said
it had joined the race for a digital banking licence in the
    Malaysian equities ended 0.5% higher, lifted by
healthcare and basic materials stocks, with the benchmark
posting weekly gains of 0.1%.
    Data showed that Malaysia's exports dropped for the fourth
straight month in November, contracting 5.5% from a year
earlier, though slower than the 6.7% fall recorded in October. 

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 STOCK MARKETS                                    
 Change on the day                                
 Market                 Current   Previous close  Pct Move
 Singapore              3238.82   3252            -0.41
 Bangkok                1594.97   1595.82         -0.05
 Manila                 7839.79   7742.53          1.26
 Jakarta                6323.466  6283.581         0.63
 Kuala Lumpur           1611.38   1602.5           0.55
 Ho Chi Minh            965.14    966.67          -0.16
 Change so far in 2020                            
 Market                 Current   End 2019        Pct Move
 Singapore              3238.82   3222.83         0.50
 Bangkok                1594.97   1579.84         0.96
 Manila                 7839.79   7,815.26        0.31
 Jakarta                6323.466  6,299.54        0.38
 Kuala Lumpur           1611.38   1588.76         1.42
 Ho Chi Minh            965.14    960.99          0.43

 (Reporting by Shruti Sonal; Editing by Sherry Jacob-Phillips)