January 8, 2020 / 10:05 AM / 19 days ago

SE Asia Stocks-Fall as Middle East tensions heighten, Thailand loses most

    * Philippines ends at a three-week low
    * Singapore recovers most of its early losses
    * Vietnam slips to over six-month low

    By Sameer Manekar
    Jan 8 (Reuters) - Southeast Asian equities slumped on
Wednesday, with Thailand taking the biggest hit, as investors
scurried from riskier assets due to rising tensions in the
Middle East after Iran fired rockets at U.S.-led forces in Iraq.
    The Thai benchmark led declines in the region and
was down 1.6% - its lowest closing level in three weeks.
    Financials and industrials were among the top drags on the
index, with Kasikornbank Pcl and Airports of Thailand
 losing 2.1% and 1%, respectively.
    Iran fired more than a dozen missiles against at least two
Iraqi facilities hosting U.S.-led coalition personnel. However,
Iranian officials said Tehran did not want a war and its strikes
"concluded" its response to Friday's killing of its top general
by the United States.
    U.S. President Donald Trump said an assessment of casualties
and damage from the strikes was under way and tweeted "all is
well".
    Singapore's benchmark index recovered most of its
early losses to end marginally lower. It had fallen as much as
1.7% earlier in the session.
    Most investors are not expecting the situation to worsen,
given that both the sides are facing pressure not to escalate
matters further, said Joel Ng, an analyst at KGI Securities.
    "There are no reports yet of casualties on the American
side, and with President Trump tweeting "all is well", it seems
that it will be calmer now."
    Heavyweights DBS Group Holdings and Jardine
Matheson Holdings lost 1.2% and 0.3%, respectively.
    The Malaysian index ended at over a week low,
weighed down by financial and consumer sectors.
    Public Bank slipped 2.6%, while Sime Darby
Plantation lost 0.9%.
    Philippine bourse slipped to a three-week low,
dragged by losses in blue-chip stocks, with BDO Unibank
and industrial conglomerate JG Summit Holdings falling
1.9% and 2.8%.
    Indonesian shares ended at over a three-week low,
with Bank Mandiri (Persero) losing 1.3%, while
state-owned telecom firm Telekomunikasi Indonesia
ended 1% lower.
    An index of Jakarta's 45 most liquid stocks
slipped 0.9%.
    Vietnam stocks ended at their lowest in over six
months, with Vinhomes JSC losing the most in real
estate sector.
    
    
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SOUTHEAST ASIAN STOCK MARKETS
    
 Market                 Current   Previous close  Pct Move
 Singapore              3245.89   3247.86         -0.06
 Bangkok                1559.27   1585.23         -1.64
 Manila                 7736.24   7840.7          -1.33
 Jakarta                6225.686  6279.346        -0.85
 Kuala Lumpur           1589.1    1611.04         -1.36
 Ho Chi Minh            948.98    958.88          -1.03
                                                  
 Change so far in 2020                            
 Market                 Current   End 2019        Pct Move
 Singapore              3245.89   3222.83         0.72
 Bangkok                1559.27   1579.84         -1.30
 Manila                 7736.24   7,815.26        -1.01
 Jakarta                6225.686  6,299.54        -1.17
 Kuala Lumpur           1589.1    1588.76         0.02
 Ho Chi Minh            948.98    960.99          -1.25
 

 (Reporting by Sameer Manekar in Bengaluru; Editing by Rashmi
Aich)
  
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