March 4, 2020 / 10:02 AM / a month ago

SE Asia Stocks-Indonesia up 2% on hopes of foreign inflows; Philippines ends higher

    * Indonesian shares close at highest level in a week
    * Thai govt. announces $3.2 billion stimulus package
    * Philippines reverses early losses to end higher

    By Shruti Sonal
    March 4 (Reuters) - Indonesian stocks closed up over 2% on
Wednesday as the country's central bank said foreign inflows
could be triggered by the U.S. Fed's rate cut, while the
Philippine index reversed early losses just before the bell to
end higher.
    Indonesia's benchmark closed at a week-high after
its finance minister predicted investors would pour money back
into assets in countries with good economic prospects —
including Indonesia — following the U.S. Federal Reserve's rate
cut of 50 basis points.
    To further reassure investors, the country's central bank
governor said it has "many instruments" to prop up economic
growth amid the risk of slowdown due to the epidemic and “more
than enough" foreign exchange reserves to maintain market
    Financials led the gains, with Bank Central Asia Tbk PT
 rising nearly 3% and Bank Permata Tbk PT
gaining 6%.  
    Meanwhile, a late bout of buying lifted the Philippine
benchmark, with the index ending 1.1% higher after
falling as much as 1.2% earlier in the session.
    "The last-minute buying doesn't quite reflect overall
sentiment and trading direction," said Nicholas Mapa, senior
economist at ING, as "market sentiment continues to be weighed
down by Covid-19 concerns despite bold monetary stimulus from
the Fed".
    Investors will be largely looking to the local government's
response to stem the fallout from the virus outbreak for further
direction, Mapa added.
    Robinsons Land Corp gained 6.5% and was the highest
percentage gainer on the benchmark.
    Most other indexes managed to hold on to slim gains at close
even as sentiment remained shaky.
    Thai equities pared early losses to end marginally
higher after the country's finance ministry said it will propose
a package of measures worth more than 100 billion baht ($3.2
billion) next week to alleviate the impact of the coronavirus
    Malaysian shares climbed nearly 0.8%, lifted by
financial and telecom stocks.
    Data showed January exports dropped 1.5% from a year
earlier, marginally better than the 1.6% fall forecast by
analysts surveyed in a Reuters poll.
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 STOCK MARKETS                                    
 Change on the day                                
 Market                 Current   Previous close  Pct Move
 Singapore              3025.03   3019.56         0.18
 Bangkok                1378.61   1375.02         0.26
 Manila                 6867.26   6790.54         1.13
 Jakarta                5650.136  5518.628        2.38
 Kuala Lumpur           1489.95   1478.64         0.76
 Ho Chi Minh            889.37    890.61          -0.14
 Change so far in 2020                            
 Market                 Current   End 2019        Pct Move
 Singapore              3025.03   3222.83         -6.14
 Bangkok                1378.61   1579.84         -12.74
 Manila                 6867.26   7,815.26        -12.13
 Jakarta                5650.136  6,299.54        -10.31
 Kuala Lumpur           1489.95   1588.76         -6.22
 Ho Chi Minh            889.37    960.99          -7.45
 (Reporting by Shruti Sonal; Editing by Ramakrishnan M.)
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