April 5, 2019 / 4:11 AM / 3 months ago

SE Asia Stocks-Lacklustre as investors bide time ahead of US jobs data

    * Philippine March inflation slowest in 15 months
    * Singapore set to post 4th consecutive weekly gain
    * Concrete developments on Sino-U.S. trade talks eyed

    By Shreya Mariam Job
    April 5 (Reuters) - Southeast Asian stock markets trod water
on Friday in light trade, as investors kept to the sidelines in
the absence of constructive developments on Sino-U.S. trade
talks and due to a holiday in China.
    U.S. President Donald Trump said on Thursday the United
States and China were getting very close to a trade deal that
could be announced within four weeks, but he issued a warning to
Beijing that, absent a pact, it would be difficult to allow
trade to continue.
    Chinese President Xi Jinping assured Trump that text of the
China-U.S. trade could be finalised soon, in a message conveyed
by Chinese Vice Premier Liu He.
    "Early morning, positive risk sentiments were given a slight
boost by President Xi's upbeat comment on the Sino-US trade
front. Nevertheless, the risk rally may be showing some signs of
exhaustion, with only nice sound-bites but no concrete
developments to chew on," OCBC said in a note.
    Investors now wait for the U.S. payrolls report, which is
forecast to bounce back in March with a Reuters survey
predicting nonfarm payrolls likely increased by 180,000 jobs
last month after a meagre 20,000 in February. 
    Philippine shares edged higher after data showed
inflation eased in March to its slowest annual pace in 15
months, supporting views that the central bank would take
advantage of cooling price rise to reverse some of last year's
policy tightening to aid economic growth.
    "Another benign inflation print in April should allow the
BSP (Bangko Sentral ng Pilipinas) to cut its Overnight Reverse
Repurchase Rate (RRP) by 25bps at its May meeting," ANZ said in
a note.
    Shares of Ayala Corp and BDO Unibank
recovered from the previous session's losses and rose 0.8
percent each. 
    Singapore stocks traded higher for a seventh
consecutive session and were set to post their fourth straight
weekly gain. 
    Financial stocks were among the top contributors, while
Genting Singapore Ltd recovered some of its losses
from the previous session. 
    Oversea-Chinese Banking Corp climbed 0.5 percent,
while Genting Singapore rose 2.1 percent after Thursday's 9.4
percent drop.     
    
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SOUTHEAST ASIAN STOCK MARKETS As at 0402 GMT
 Change on the day                                
 Market                 Current   Previous close  Pct Move
 Singapore              3323.8    3316.21         0.23
 Bangkok                1644.22   1644.22         0.00
 Manila                 7877      7854.13         0.29
 Jakarta                6492.963  6494.63         -0.03
 Kuala Lumpur           1643.28   1645.07         -0.11
 Ho Chi Minh            986.88    986.91          0.00
                                                  
 Change so far in 2019                            
 Market                 Current   End 2018        Pct Move
 Singapore              3323.8    3068.76         8.31
 Bangkok                1644.22   1563.88         5.14
 Manila                 7877      7,466.02        5.50
 Jakarta                6492.963  6,194.50        4.82
 Kuala Lumpur           1643.28   1690.58         -2.80
 Ho Chi Minh            986.88    892.54          10.57
 
 (Reporting by Shreya Mariam Job in Bengaluru; Editing by
Subhranshu Sahu)
  
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