March 25, 2020 / 10:24 AM / 8 days ago

SE Asia Stocks-Gain across the board as U.S. stimulus bolsters sentiment

    * Malaysia to extend virus-induced lockdown
    * Thai cenbank holds key rate, says economy to contract this
year
    * Indonesia to cut trading hours to contain virus spread

    By Arpit Nayak
    March 25 (Reuters) - Southeast Asian stock markets rose
sharply on Wednesday as a massive U.S. fiscal stimulus package
to rein in the economic impact of the coronavirus pandemic
boosted investor sentiment around the world.
    The stimulus package, expected to be worth $2 trillion and
signed between U.S. senators and the White House, joined a
barrage of global moves to shore up liquidity as the
fast-spreading virus pummels economies worldwide.
    "Optimism appears to have returned with emphatic market
rebound in tow," said Vishnu Varathan, an analyst at Mizuho
Bank.
    Varathan added that apart from the "massive U.S. fiscal
stimulus within reach," the rebound was also fed by pledges of
unlimited quantitative easing from the U.S. Federal Reserve on
Tuesday.  
    Singaporean equities led gains in the region to end
6.1% higher, with financial and consumer stocks strengthening
the most.
    Financial and consumer stocks climbed most on the Philippine
index, sending it 5.3% higher as the central bank on
Tuesday slashed the reserve requirement ratio of banks to
support growth and boost lending.
    Thai shares gained 4.5% after the central bank said
the banking system had enough liquidity to ease financial
strains due to the outbreak, ahead of a month-long virus-induced
emergency lockdown.
    The bank left its key interest rate unchanged at a record
low, but warned its economy would contract this year due to the
impact of the virus.
    Malaysian stocks added 2.6%, with telecom and
consumer sectors gaining the most.
    The country has dealt with the largest number of coronavirus
cases in the region so far and said it would extend its two-week
restriction of movement and unveil a second economic stimulus
package.
    Even as the Indonesian index was closed for trading
on account of a local holiday, the central bank and the
country's financial regulator decided to cut trading hours next
week as part of their efforts to contain the virus.

    
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SOUTHEAST ASIAN STOCK MARKETS
  Change on the                                    
 day                                       
  Market          Current      Previous    Pct Move
                               close       
  Singapore       2,505.47     2,362.05    6.07
  Bangkok         1,080.03     1,033.84    4.47
  Manila          5,027.76     4,774.27    5.31
  Kuala Lumpur    1,324.5      1,291.14    2.58
  Ho Chi Minh     690.25       659.21      4.71
                                           
  Change so far                            
 in 2020                                   
  Market          Current      End 2019    Pct Move
  Singapore       2,505.47     3,222.83    -22.26
  Bangkok         1,080.03     1,579.84    -31.64
  Manila          5,027.76     7,815.26    -35.67
  Jakarta         3,937.632    6,299.54    -37.49
  Kuala Lumpur    1,324.5      1,588.76    -16.63
  Ho Chi Minh     690.25       960.99      -28.17
 
 (Reporting by Arpit Nayak; Editing by Devika Syamnath)
  
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