SE Asia Stocks-Most rise on hopes of economic recovery; Sino-U.S. tensions cap gains

    * 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
    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. 
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  STOCK MARKETS                                        
  Change on the                                        
  Market           Current       Previous     Pct Move
  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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