August 28, 2018 / 9:53 AM / in 3 months

SE Asia Stocks-Rise on U.S.-Mexico trade optimism; Malaysia hits over 3-mth closing high

    * Malaysia posts three-month closing high
    * Philippines posts over two-week closing high
    * Trade tensions seen lingering for some time - Mizuho

    By Sumeet Gaikwad
    Aug 28 (Reuters) - Southeast Asian stock markets rose on
Tuesday in tandem with Asian peers as global trade worries
briefly ebbed following a deal by the United States and Mexico
to overhaul the North American Free Trade Agreement (NAFTA).
    Investors expect Canada, too, would agree to the new terms
to preserve the three-nation pact, ultimately dispelling the
economic uncertainty prompted by U.S. President Donald Trump's
repeated threats to ditch the 1994 NAFTA accord.
    "Some market participants see the new accord as a sign that
trade war risk is receding, as it shows that the U.S. can still
negotiate in good faith. It is probably premature to jump to
that conclusion as Trump suggested that it is "not the right
time to talk" with China. As a result, heightened trade tension
is expected to linger for some time," Mizuho Bank said in a
note. 
    MSCI's broadest index of Asia-Pacific shares outside Japan
 was up 0.5 percent.
    Financial and industrial stocks helped the Philippines index
 close at its highest in nearly three weeks. 
    Blue chips SM Investments Corp and BDO Unibank
 added over 2 percent each to the index. 
    Thai stocks edged higher, buoyed by energy stocks
with PTT and PTT Exploration and Production
climbing around 1 percent each. 
    Thailand's manufacturing production index in July rose 4.6
percent from a year earlier, helped by higher production of
cars, sugar and electronics.
    Singapore stocks ended higher helped by gains in
financials.
    Oversea-Chinese Banking Corp was the biggest boost
to the benchmark, closing up about 2 percent, while United
Overseas Bank advanced 1.6 percent.
    "I think today it's actually playing up its (Singapore)
stronger relation with the mainland market. The mainland markets
are getting flooded with a lot of cash right now, and I think
that's why we're seeing some opportunistic buying, some
bartering and certainly some bargain-hunting take place," said
Stephen Innes, head of trading, Asia Pacific, at Oanda.
    Malaysian shares rose 0.8 percent to 1,826.9, its
highest close since May 22, led by financial and telecom stocks.
    Axiata Group ended over 3.7 percent higher while
CIMB Group Holdings firmed 2 percent. 
    The Jakarta index rose to an over-two-week closing
high, but gains in financials and telecom were capped by losses
in consumer discretionary stocks. 
    Telekomunikasi Indonesia added 3.5 percent to the
index while Astra International was down 3 percent at
close.

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SOUTHEAST ASIAN STOCK MARKETS
 Change on the day                           
 Market             Current  Previous close  Pct Move
 Singapore          3247.55  3225.62         0.68
 Bangkok            1718.15  1717.24         0.05
 Manila             7844.61  7766.47         1.01
 Jakarta            6042.65  6025.968        0.28
 Kuala Lumpur       1826.9   1811.6          0.84
 Ho Chi Minh        995.19   991.92          0.33
                                             
 Change on year                              
 Market             Current  End 2017        Pct Move
 Singapore          3247.55  3402.92         -4.57
 Bangkok            1718.15  1753.71         -2.03
 Manila             7844.61  8558.42         -8.34
 Jakarta            6042.65  6355.654        -4.92
 Kuala Lumpur       1826.9   1796.81         1.67
 Ho Chi Minh        995.19   984.24          1.11
 
 (Reporting by Sumeet Gaikwad in Bengaluru, Additional reporting
by Ambar Warrick; Editing by Sunil Nair)
  
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