January 7, 2020 / 4:38 AM / 17 days ago

SE Asia Stocks-Rebound as Mideast tensions wane; Malaysia leads gains

    * Global markets take breather amid no fresh U.S.-Iran
    * Philippine Dec CPI above forecast
    * Thai stocks rebound from worst fall in over 2 months 

    By Sameer Manekar
    Jan 7 (Reuters) - Most Southeast Asian stock markets on
Tuesday recovered from previous session's losses, as investors
tempered expectations for a widespread geopolitical conflict
with no exchange of fresh threats between the United States and
    Regional stock markets fell between 0.5% and 1.7% on Monday
after the United States warned of major retaliation if Iran
strikes back for the killing of its military commander and
threatened to impose sanctions on Iraq for the expulsion of U.S.
troops from Baghdad.
    U.S. Defense Secretary Mark Esper on Monday said that the
United States has no plans to pull its troops out of Iraq. 

   "There is a likelihood of heightened geopolitical risks in
the Middle East, as well as globally, so markets are likely to
be volatile over the week," Linus Loo, head of research at Lim &
Tan Securities said, adding that optimism surrounding the
U.S.-China Phase 1 trade deal may return to the markets.
    MSCI's broadest index of Asia-Pacific shares outside Japan
 added 0.6%, recouping almost all of Monday's
    Leading the gains in the region, Malaysian stocks
rebounded from a nearly 1% drop in the previous session.
    Financials and consumer sectors boosted the benchmark, with
Malayan Banking and Sime Darby Plantation
advancing 0.4% and 1.3%, respectively.
    Singapore's benchmark index rose on the back of gains
in blue-chip stocks, with Southeast Asia's largest lender DBS
Group Holdings and Oversea-Chinese Banking Corp
 adding nearly 1% each.
    Thai stocks clawed back from their worst drop in
over two months in the previous session, lifted by
petrochemicals producer PTT Global Chemical and
telecom firm Advanced Info Service.
    The Philippine index gained 0.3% after data on
Tuesday showed the country's annual inflation picked up more
than expected in December, but remained well within the central
bank's target.
    The benchmark was boosted by SM Investments Corp and
Ayala Corp, which jumped 2% and 0.6%, respectively.
    "The surprise inflation print in December should keep Bangko
Sentral ng Pilipinas (BSP) on alert as they gauge price
developments going into 2020," ING said in a note, adding that
there is scope for the central bank to ease monetary policy
further in 2020.  
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 Change on the day                                
 Market                 Current   Previous close  Pct Move
 Singapore              3242.99   3218.86         0.75
 Bangkok                1578.38   1568.5          0.63
 Manila                 7818.21   7797.87         0.26
 Jakarta                6265.661  6257.403        0.13
 Kuala Lumpur           1610.52   1597.76         0.80
 Ho Chi Minh            955.25    955.79          -0.06
 Change so far in 2020                            
 Market                 Current   End 2019        Pct Move
 Singapore              3242.99   3222.83         0.63
 Bangkok                1578.38   1579.84         -0.09
 Manila                 7818.21   7,815.26        0.04
 Jakarta                6265.661  6,299.54        -0.54
 Kuala Lumpur           1610.52   1588.76         1.37
 Ho Chi Minh            955.25    960.99          -0.60

 (Reporting by Sameer Manekar in Bengaluru, Editing by Sherry
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