SE Asia Stocks-Singapore gains for third straight session; others slip amid holiday lull

    * Singapore extends gains for third consecutive session
    * Indonesia and Philippine markets closed until Wednesday
    * Vietnam set to snap a 3-session rally

    By Shruti Sonal
    Dec 24 (Reuters) - Trade-sensitive Singapore shares extended
gains for a third straight session on Tuesday, buoyed by
lingering optimism about an interim U.S.-China trade deal, while
other Southeast Asian stock markets were down in subdued trade
ahead of holidays.
    A recent spate of positive developments have pointed towards
a de-escalation of a trade conflict between the world's
two-largest economies.
    The benchmark Singapore index, which will trade for a
shorter session ahead of the Christmas holiday, was buoyed by
telecom and industrials. 
    Jardine Strategic Holdings was up as much as 0.8%,
while Singapore Telecommunications rose 0.9%.
    However, investors in most other markets are choosing to
wait until next year to see how long the current thaw in
Sino-U.S. relations lasts.
    "Granted, there were bright spots with the White House
suggesting that the "Phase-1" deal is within grasp... but the
tough "Phase-1" negotiations reveal that further progress would
require significant concessions on both sides, which lifts the
bar for further trade gains," Vishnu Varathan, a senior
economist at Mizuho Bank, said in a note.
    Losing the most in the region, Malaysian equities
saw their worst session in five days, with utilities and
healthcare weighing down on the index in thin trading.
    Index heavyweights Petronas Gas and Top Glove
Corporation Bhd fell about 3% and 1% respectively.
    Thailand stocks shed as much as 0.3%, a day after
central bank governor raised concerns about the economy,
signalling room for further rate cuts.
    "The outlook moving forward remain gloomy as the country's
effort to control currency appreciation by cutting key interest
rates, among others has no significant impact," an MIDF Research
note said.
    Industrials and telecom were the biggest drag on the index,
with G J Steel PCL being the top percentage loser on
    The Vietnam index was set to snap three straight
sessions of gains, dragged down by industrials and financials. 
    Meanwhile, Philippine and Indonesian markets
were closed until Wednesday.
For Asian Companies click;  

 Market                 Current  Previous close  Pct Move
 Singapore              3223.28  3214            0.29
 Bangkok                1571.04  1573.57         -0.16
 Kuala Lumpur           1607.93  1614.18         -0.39
 Ho Chi Minh            955.87   959.43          -0.37
 Change so far in 2019                           
 Market                 Current  End 2018        Pct Move
 Singapore              3223.28  3068.76         5.04
 Bangkok                1571.04  1563.88         0.46
 Manila                 7872.6   7,466.02        5.45
 Jakarta                6305.91  6,194.50        1.80
 Kuala Lumpur           1607.93  1690.58         -4.89
 Ho Chi Minh            955.87   892.54          7.10
 (Reporting by Shruti Sonal; Editing by Rashmi Aich)