SE Asia Stocks-Most rise on trade talk progress; Thailand leads pack

* Singapore on track to post first quarterly gain in four
* Philippines, Indonesia set to post third straight qtrly
gain
* Thailand trade data due later in the day
* Asia stocks ex-Japan up 0.5 pct

By Shanima A
March 29 () – Most Southeast Asian stock markets rose
on Friday, with Thailand leading the pack, boosted by optimism
around progress in U.S.-China trade talks, while Singapore index
was on track for its first quarterly gain in four.
Sentiment was lifted after a report that in an unprecedented
move, China has made proposals in talks with the U.S. on a range
of issues, including on forced technology transfer.
The issue around technological transfer has proved a tough
one for negotiators between the world’s largest economies, as
U.S. officials say China has previously refused to acknowledge
the problem exists to the extent alleged by the United States,
making discussing a resolution difficult.
« While the feel-good factor from China may see stock
markets in the green…., short-term sentiment will be highly
vulnerable to headlines coming out of the talks, which could
cause aggressive short-term volatility, bullish or bearish, »
said Jeffrey Halley, senior market analyst – Asia Pacific at
OANDA, in a note.
MSCI’s broadest index of Asia-Pacific shares outside Japan
gained 0.5 percent.
Thailand shares hit their highest in one-week,
rising 0.6 percent – the highest in the region. Trade data for
the country in February is due later in the day.
Singapore index rose 0.5 percent, with shares of DBS
Group Holdings Ltd gaining 0.7 percent.
The index was also heading for a quarterly gain of about 5
percent.
The real estate investment trusts (REITs) have been real
outperformers in the Singapore market during the quarter on
expectations of lower interest rates going forward, said Joel
Ng, an analyst at KGI Securities.
The Monetary Authority of Singapore will hold its next
monetary policy decision meeting in April.
Malaysian shares gained 0.5 percent, after two
straight sessions of declines. Instant food products maker
Nestle (Malaysia) Bhd rose as much as 1.6 percent.
The Philippine benchmark rose 0.3 percent and was on
its course for the third straight quarter of gain. However on a
weekly basis, it was set to post its first decline in four
weeks.
Meanwhile, Indonesian stocks fell 0.5 percent, hurt
by declines in consumer staples sectors.
Animal feeds maker Charoen Pokphand Indonesia Tbk PT
was among the top decliners on the index falling more
than 8 percent.
The benchmark was on track to post its third consecutive
quarterly gain.

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SOUTHEAST ASIAN STOCK MARKETS AT 0401 GMT

Market Current Previous close Pct Move
Singapore 3220.5 3203.58 0.53
Bangkok 1643.85 1634.25 0.59
Manila 7899.36 7876.4 0.29
Jakarta 6445.856 6480.788 -0.54
Kuala Lumpur 1649.35 1641.33 0.49
Ho Chi Minh 986.92 982.98 0.40

Change so far in 2019
Market Current End 2018 Pct Move
Singapore 3220.5 3068.76 4.94
Bangkok 1643.85 1563.88 5.11
Manila 7899.36 7,466.02 5.80
Jakarta 6445.856 6,194.50 4.06
Kuala Lumpur 1649.35 1690.58 -2.44
Ho Chi Minh 986.92 892.54 10.57

(Reporting by Shanima A in Bengaluru; Editing by Rashmi Aich)
Our Standards:The Thomson Trust Principles.