May 20, 2020 / 3:54 AM / 12 days ago

SE Asia Stocks-Most slip as vaccine optimism evaporates; Singapore drops most

    * Singapore shares set to snap 3 sessions of gains
    * Thai shares up ahead of c.bank meeting
    * Malaysia falls after 5 sessions in the green

    By Pranav A K
    May 20 (Reuters) - Most Southeast Asian stock markets
slipped on Wednesday, tracking overnight losses on Wall Street,
as investors refrained from making big bets after doubts were
cast over a recent early-stage trial of a coronavirus vaccine.
    Data from a small, early-stage safety trial testing Moderna
Inc's experimental COVID-19 vaccine does not provide
the critical data needed to assess its effectiveness,
health-focused Stat News reported on Tuesday, citing experts.

    "Asian markets may retreat on Wednesday after a setback in
vaccine optimism with investors refocusing on the downbeat
economic outlook induced by COVID-19," economists at ING said in
a note.
    Leading losses in Southeast Asia, Singapore's Straits Times
Index snapped three sessions of gains and fell 1%, with
industrial stocks weighing the most, even as the city-state
looks to restart its economy with a phased easing of
restrictions.
    Singapore Airlines and conglomerate Jardine
Matheson Holdings shed as much as 3.2% and 2.7%,
respectively.
    ING economists, however, said Singapore's economy would take
a long time to recover as a gradual three-phase reboot will not
be completed for several months more at least.    
    In Indonesia, the benchmark edged lower as capital
Jakarta extended coronavirus-related curbs until June 4.

    The index is set to snap two straight sessions of gains.
Pollux Properti Indonesia slid 6.9%, while PT Bank
Tabungan Pensiunan Nasional Syariah lost 4.6%.
    Malaysian shares ticked lower after gaining for five
sessions, ahead of April inflation data. 
    Thai stocks inched 0.5% higher, ahead of the
country's central bank's meeting. The Bank of Thailand is widely
expected to cut interest rates by another 25 basis points,
bringing the policy rate down to 0.5%.
    "However, with growth already in negative territory... don't
be surprised if we see a bigger, 50bp rate cut today," ING
economists said.
    Vietnam shares found solace in a potential free trade
agreement with the European Union (EU), and edged higher.
    The World Bank said the trade pact with EU set to soon be
ratified by Vietnam should boost the Asian nation's economic
recovery from the coronavirus pandemic.
    
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SOUTHEAST ASIAN STOCK MARKETS AS OF 0323 GMT
    
 Change on the day                                
 Market                 Current   Previous close  Pct Move
 Singapore              2556.07   2581.33         -0.98
 Bangkok                1315.53   1309.95         0.43
 Manila                 5532.45   5555.85         -0.42
 Jakarta                4529.428  4548.656        -0.42
 Kuala Lumpur           1423.19   1423.97         -0.05
 Ho Chi Minh            849.04    845.92          0.37
                                                  
 Change so far in 2020                            
 Market                 Current   End 2019        Pct Move
 Singapore              2556.07   3222.83         -20.69
 Bangkok                1315.53   1579.84         -16.73
 Manila                 5532.45   7,815.26        -29.21
 Jakarta                4529.428  6,299.54        -28.10
 Kuala Lumpur           1423.19   1588.76         -10.42
 Ho Chi Minh            849.04    960.99          -11.65
 


 (Reporting by A K Pranav in Bengaluru; Editing by Ramakrishnan
M.)
  
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