SE Asia Stocks-Most up on bargain hunting; Malaysia slips on cbank outlook

* U.S.-China trade talks to resume on Thursday
* Malaysian shares at 3-month low

By Shanima A
March 28 () – Most Southeast Asian stock markets
edged up on Thursday on bargain hunting and some progress in
U.S.-China trade talks, while the Malaysian index hit its lowest
in more than three months after the central bank’s gloomy growth
outlook for this year.
Bank Negara Malaysia in its annual report on Wednesday had
lowered its economic growth expectation for 2019 to 4.3-4.8
percent from an earlier forecast of 4.9 percent growth.

Malaysian index was down over 0.1 percent, hitting
its lowest since Dec. 20, 2018. Shares of oil palm planter Sime
Darby Plantation Bhd were among the major decliners on
the index, dipping nearly 2 percent.
« Key headwinds to growth include the external sector as the
global outlook weakens and potential commodity-related supply
disruptions, while domestic private activity remains the main
driver of growth albeit at a moderated pace, » UOB said in a
Investors were also on the lookout for the outcome of
high-level trade talks between the United States and Southeast
Asia’s largest trading partner China, which are scheduled to
start later in the day in Beijing.
Meanwhile, U.S. officials told that the world’s two
biggest economies have made progress in all areas under
discussion in trade talks, but sticking points remain.

« We should see more mixed trading as we head into the end of
the quarter with portfolio rebalancing driving market direction.
The US treasury yield curve inverted further these couple of
days. This has led to some selling, » said Liu Jinshu, director
of research at NRA Capital.
« Yet, some market players are expecting the Federal Reserve
to cut rates, leading to some bargain hunting as well. »
The Philippine index gained 0.2 percent, supported by
gains in real estate and financial stocks.
Index heavy-weight Ayala Land Inc and Bank of the
Philippine Islands rose more than 1 percent each.
Financials and material sectors pushed the Indonesian
benchmark 0.2 percent higher. Shares of cement maker
Indocement Tunggal Prakarsa Tbk PT were leading the
gains on the index rising more than 4.5 percent.
Singapore index rose 0.3 percent, with conglomerates
Jardine Matheson Holdings Ltd and Jardine Strategic
Holdings Ltd, were 0.9 percent and 1 percent higher,
Thailand shares were flat marginally up 0.02
An unofficial final results of the country’s first election
since 2014 is expected to be released on Friday.

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Market Current Previous close Pct Move
Singapore 3206.44 3198.39 0.25
Bangkok 1629.55 1629.4 0.01
Manila 7877.03 7861.05 0.20
Jakarta 6451.735 6444.738 0.11
Kuala Lumpur 1640.98 1642.73 -0.11
Ho Chi Minh 978.93 975.91 0.31

Change so far in 2019
Market Current End 2018 Pct Move
Singapore 3206.44 3068.76 4.49
Bangkok 1629.55 1563.88 4.20
Manila 7877.03 7,466.02 5.51
Jakarta 6451.735 6,194.50 4.15
Kuala Lumpur 1640.98 1690.58 -2.93
Ho Chi Minh 978.93 892.54 9.68

(Reporting by Shanima A; Editing by Rashmi Aich)
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