April 5, 2019 / 10:17 AM / 2 months ago

SE Asia Stocks-Muted; eyes on trade talks, U.S. job data

    * Trump said trade deal with China might be out in 4 weeks
    * Singapore posts biggest weekly gain in 12 weeks
    * Philippine inflation eases, interest rate cut expected 

    By Shreya Mariam Job
    April 5 (Reuters) - Southeast Asian stock markets were
rangebound on Friday as mixed reports about progress on a trade
deal between Washington and Beijing left investors cautious
about taking on more risk. 
    U.S. President Donald Trump on Thursday said the United
States and China were close to a trade deal that could be
announced within four weeks, while warning Beijing that it would
be difficult to allow trade to continue without a pact.

    Also under the investor radar is the U.S. payrolls report,
which is forecast to rebound to 180,000 in March, following
February's distorted 20,000 rise, which points to stronger
labour market strength amid concerns of economic risks.
    Philippine stocks rebounded from previous session's
losses to end higher, with gains concentrated in the financial
sector. For the week, however, the index posted a 0.6 percent
fall. 
    Philippine inflation eased in March to its slowest annual
pace in 15 months on easing food prices. It compounded signs
that the central bank could take advantage of the cooling
inflation to reverse some of last year's policy tightening to
support economic growth.
    "Another benign inflation print in April should allow the
BSP (Bangko Sentral ng Pilipinas) to cut its Overnight Reverse
Repurchase Rate (RRP) by 25bps at its May meeting," economists
Mustafa Ali and Sanjay Mathur said in an ANZ report. 
    Ayala Corp and Metropolitan Bank and Trust Co
 picked up 1.8 percent and 1.1 percent, respectively.
    The Singapore benchmark index closed higher, boosted
by gains in financials. Top lenders extended their strength with
DBS Group Holdings Ltd, Oversea-Chinese Banking
Corporation Ltd, and United Overseas Bank Ltd
 climbing between 0.4 percent and 0.7 percent. 
    The index posted a 3.4 percent gain for the week, its
highest weekly gain in 12.
    Financials and energy shares dragged the Indonesian index
 0.3 percent lower; but it closed 0.1 percent firmer on
the week. Bank Central Asia Tbk Pt slid 0.7 percent,
while Bank Mandiri Tbk Pt dropped 1.6 percent.
    Malaysian stocks snapped a three-session winning
streak to close 0.2 percent weaker. Telecom stocks dragged the
index lower with Maxis Bhd dropping 2 percent.   
         
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SOUTHEAST ASIAN STOCK MARKETS
    
 Change on the day                                
 Market                 Current   Previous close  Pct Move
 Singapore              3322.64   3316.21         0.19
 Bangkok                1646.18   1644.22         0.12
 Manila                 7873.18   7854.13         0.24
 Jakarta                6474.018  6494.63         -0.32
 Kuala Lumpur           1641.81   1645.07         -0.20
 Ho Chi Minh            989.26    986.91          0.24
                                                  
 Change so far in 2019                            
 Market                 Current   End 2018        Pct Move
 Singapore              3322.64   3068.76         8.27
 Bangkok                1646.18   1563.88         5.26
 Manila                 7873.18   7,466.02        5.45
 Jakarta                6474.018  6,194.50        4.51
 Kuala Lumpur           1641.81   1690.58         -2.88
 Ho Chi Minh            989.26    892.54          10.84
 
 (Reporting by Shreya Mariam Job in Bengaluru; Editing by Sherry
Jacob-Phillips)
  
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