April 19, 2017 / 5:52 AM / 9 months ago

SE Asia Stocks-Fall on muted risk appetite

    By Rushil Dutta
    April 19 (Reuters) - Most Southeast Asian stock markets fell
on Wednesday as investors favoured safe-havens assets ahead of
French presidential elections though tensions over geopolitical
uncertainties eased.
    U.S. Treasury yields fell to five-month lows on Tuesday as
nervousness ahead of France's first round of presidential
elections this weekend. Opinion polls show far-right leader
Marine Le Pen and centrist Emmanuel Macron qualifying next
Sunday for the May 7 run-off.
    On the other hand, British Prime Minister Theresa May
calling for early general elections ahead of Brexit negotiations
added to the general sense of wariness.
    "I think there is risk-off sentiment in the markets right
now following last night's surprise announcement regarding the
snap elections in the UK," said Victor Felix, an equity analyst
with AB Capital Securities.
    "There is also a lot of uncertainty ahead of the first round
of French elections."
    Asian stocks excluding Japan hit their
lowest since mid-March.
    Singapore shares fell 0.5 percent with oil and gas
stocks being the biggest losers on lower crude prices. 
    Oil rig builder Keppel Corp and Sembcorp
Industries fell over 2 percent each and were among the
biggest losers on the benchmark stock index.
    Consumer and industrial stocks also saw considerable
weakness, with Jardine Matheson Holdings, the biggest
stock on the index by market value, shedding 0.9 percent.
    Philippine shares declined 0.8 percent, hurt by
weakness in telecom, consumer and energy stocks.
    Telecom major PLDT Inc fell as much as 3.5 percent
to its lowest in about two weeks.
    Malaysian shares were largely unmoved by inflation
data showing consumer price inflation hit an eight-year high in
March, but slightly below a forecast in a Reuters poll.

    Bucking the trend, Vietnam posted marginal gains.
    Indonesian stock markets were closed as Jakarta
holds the second round of gubernatorial elections with the
incumbent Christian governor, Basuki "Ahok" Tjahaja Purnama, and
his Muslim opponent neck and neck in the race to lead
Indonesia's capital.
    The election campaign - which has been among the most
divisive in the city's history - has been marred by religious
and ethnic tension over the blasphemy trial of Purnama, who is
accused of insulting Islam.
    "We think an Ahok victory would be the foreign
investor-friendly outcome," ING said in a note.
For Asian Companies click;  

 Change on day                                      
 Market                   Current   Previous Close  Pct Move
 Singapore                3121.09   3137.54         -0.52
 Bangkok                  1570.22   1574.42         -0.27
 Manila                   7530.89   7588.98         -0.77
 Kuala Lumpur             1739.06   1740.6          -0.09
 Ho Chi Minh              715.53    714.93          0.08
 Change on year                                     
 Market                   Current   End 2016        Pct Move
 Singapore                3121.09   2880.76         8.34
 Bangkok                  1570.22   1542.94         1.77
 Manila                   7530.89   6840.64         10.10
 Kuala Lumpur             1739.06   1641.73         5.93
 Ho Chi Minh              715.53    664.87          7.60
 (Reporting by Rushil Dutta; Additional reporting by Anusha
Ravindranath in Bengaluru; Editing by Subhranshu Sahu)
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