* Philippines task force backs easing Manila lockdown * Thailand set to gain for 4th day * Singapore & Malaysia inch lower By Arundhati Dutta May 28 () - Most Southeast Asian stock markets rose on Thursday as signs of economic recovery from the COVID-19 pandemic offset concerns across the region about a rise in Sino-U.S. tensions over Hong Kong and trade. MSCI's broadest index of Asia-Pacific shares outside Japan was up 0.6%. Stocks in China rose 0.44% while shares in Hong Kong fell 0.23%. U.S. Secretary of State Mike Pompeo told Congress on Wednesday that Hong Kong no longer qualifies for its special status under U.S. law - potentially worsening relations between the world's two biggest economies. A trade war blow-up could only make things worse as the world struggles with possibly the worst recession, according to Robert Carnell, Regional Head of Research, Asia-Pacific at ING. In Southeast Asia, Indonesian equities led the gains and rose as much as 2%, with the financial sector contributing to nearly three-fourths of the index's gains. PT Bank Central Asia Tbk and PT Bank Mandiri (Persero) Tbk were up more than 5% each. In the Philippines, the coronavirus task force backed easing one of the toughest and longest lockdowns in the world in the capital of Manila, which has so far endured nearly 11 weeks of restrictions. The benchmark rose up to 0.9%, with big cap financial stocks Security Bank Corp and BDO Unibank Inc rising 8.6% and 4.6%, respectively. Thai shares were up for a fourth day, while the Vietnamese index added as much as 0.6%. Both indexes were lifted by gains in financials. Shares in Malaysia and Singapore inched slightly down. For Asian Companies click; SOUTHEAST ASIAN STOCK MARKETS AS AT 0354 GMT STOCK MARKETS Change on the day Market Current Previous Pct Move close Singapore 2515.97 2519.48 -0.14 Bangkok 1349.85 1345.11 0.35 Manila 5557.78 5523.78 0.62 Jakarta 4732.98 4641.555 1.97 Kuala Lumpur 1451.23 1451.73 -0.03 Ho Chi Minh 861.3 857.48 0.45 Change so far in 2020 Market Current End 2019 Pct Move Singapore 2515.97 3222.83 -21.93 Bangkok 1349.85 1579.84 -14.56 Manila 5557.78 7,815.26 -28.89 Jakarta 4732.98 6,299.54 -24.87 Kuala Lumpur 1451.23 1588.76 -8.66 Ho Chi Minh 861.3 960.99 -10.37 (Reporting by Arundhati Dutta; Editing by Ramakrishnan M.)
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