February 14, 2019 / 5:07 AM / 6 months ago

SE Asia Stocks-Most subdued; Vietnam posts mild gains

    * Latest round of high-level U.S.-China talks begin
    * Vietnam leads gains in the region
    * Malaysia flat after Q4 GDP figures

    By Anushka Trivedi
    Feb 14 (Reuters) - Most Southeast Asian markets were muted
on Thursday as risk sentiment remained high on hopes for a
breakthrough in the trade impasse between United States and
China, while Vietnam and Philippines shares posted mild gains in
the regional markets.
    With the latest round of high-level talks kicking off
earlier in the day, investors across Asia were wary of taking on
risk, with MSCI's broadest index of Asia-Pacific shares outside
Japan easing 0.3 percent.
    Meanwhile, China's January dollar-denominated exports rose
9.1 percent from a year earlier, while imports dropped 1.5
percent, both beating analysts' expectations, official data
showed on Thursday.
    Singapore shares shed previous session's gains to
trade 0.1 percent lower on Thursday. 
    Leading banks such as Overseas-Chinese Banking Corp Ltd
 and United Overseas bank Ltd posted solid
gains earlier in the session and were seeing some positioning
ahead of their earnings next week. 
    "Singapore banks' share prices have gained 3.5 percent - 5.7
percent since the start of the year, as better sentiments from a
less hawkish U.S. Fed and progress made on the U.S.-China trade
talks improve risk appetite," Joanne Goh and Eugene Leow,
strategists at DBS Group Research said in a note.
    Malaysian shares were largely unchanged after the
country said its economy expanded 4.7 percent in the
October-December quarter from a year earlier, in line with
expectations, ending four quarters of slowing growth.

    Indonesian shares traded lower ahead of trade data
slated for release on Friday.  
    Indonesia likely suffered another wide trade gap in January
even though imports probably contracted for the first time since
June 2017, a Reuters poll showed.
    Meanwhile, Vietnam shares, the biggest gainer in
Southeast Asian markets, edged 0.6 percent firmer to their
highest since mid-December.
    Real estate sector stocks dominated the gains, with property
developer Vingroup JSC climbing as much as 3.7 percent
to a 10-month high. 
    Philippine stocks, which were poised to snap a
four-day losing streak, were lifted by the financial sector. 
    Lender BDO Unibank rose up to 1.4 percent, while
Bank of the Philippine Islands added 2.2 percent to the
    For Asian Companies click;  

 Change on the day                               
 Market                 Current  Previous close  Pct Move
 Singapore              3241.26  3244.77         -0.11
 Bangkok                1655.6   1655.73         -0.01
 Manila                 7952.33  7920.24         0.41
 Jakarta                6412.37  6419.116        -0.11
 Kuala Lumpur           1685.31  1685.3          0.00
 Ho Chi Minh            950.68   945.25          0.57
 Change so far in 2019                           
 Market                 Current  End 2018        Pct Move
 Singapore              3241.26  3068.76         5.62
 Bangkok                1655.6   1563.88         5.86
 Manila                 7952.33  7,466.02        6.51
 Jakarta                6412.37  6,194.50        3.52
 Kuala Lumpur           1685.31  1690.58         -0.31
 Ho Chi Minh            950.68   892.54          6.51

 (Reporting by Anushka Trivedi in Bengaluru, Editing by Sherry
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