March 4, 2019 / 4:24 AM / 9 months ago

SE Asia Stocks-Most climb on trade optimism; Malaysia falls

    * Malaysia posts higher-than-expected Jan trade surplus
    * Vietnam, Indonesia poised for 2nd straight session of

    By Shriya Ramakrishnan
    March 4 (Reuters) - Most Southeast Asian stocks climbed on
Monday amid reports the United States and China were close to
striking a trade deal, while Malaysia fell despite the country
reporting a higher-than-expected trade surplus for January. 
    U.S. President Donald Trump and his Chinese counterpart Xi
Jingping could reach a formal trade deal at a summit around
March 27 given progress in talks between the two countries, the
Wall Street Journal reported on Sunday.
    "This would be a timely shot of confidence for both China
and the U.S., especially as manufacturing sentiment in both
economies has been languishing of late," Mizuho Bank said in a
    Shares across broader Asia edged higher, with MSCI's
broadest index of Asia-Pacific shares outside Japan
 rising 0.1 percent for their second straight day
of gains.
    Leading gains in Southeast Asia, Vietnam stocks
climbed 1.1 percent and were on track for a second straight
session of gains.
    Vingroup JSC, the country's biggest-listed firm by
market value, rose 2.1 percent, while Vietnam Dairy Products JSC
 advanced 0.6 percent.
    The Singapore index, which is impacted by any
development on the Sino-U.S. trade front due to its high trade
exposure, gained 0.7 percent, bolstered by consumer and
financial stocks.
    Indonesian shares were poised for a second straight
session of gains, buoyed by energy and consumer stocks.  
    Shares of clove cigarettes maker Gudang Garam Tbk PT
 added 6.9 percent, while coal miner Adaro Energy Tbk
PT rose 6.1 percent.
    Bucking the trend, Malaysian shares started the day
as much as 0.7 percent lower on expectations of a lower January
trade surplus.
    However, data showed the country posted a better-than-
expected trade surplus of 11.5 billion ringgit ($2.83 billion)
in January, driven largely by higher shipments of manufactured
and mining goods.
    Investors largely ignored the data, with the benchmark index
paring losses slightly to trade down 0.4 percent at 0409 GMT.
    Philippine stocks declined as much as 0.6 percent in
early trade on continued fears of fund outflows, after index
publisher MSCI said it would increase the inclusion factor of
Chinese mainland shares in its global benchmarks. The index
pared some of the losses to trade flat by midday. 
    Southeast Asian markets have come under pressure since the
imposition of retaliatory tariffs by the world's two economic
giants on each other's goods, which has hurt the Chinese economy
and weakened domestic demand of the region's largest trading

    For Asian Companies click;  

 Market                 Current   Previous close  Pct Move
 Singapore              3244      3220.4          0.73
 Bangkok                1641.94   1641.44         0.03
 Manila                 7644.02   7641.77         0.03
 Jakarta                6517.678  6499.884        0.27
 Kuala Lumpur           1693.69   1700.76         -0.42
 Ho Chi Minh            990.7     979.63          1.13
 Change so far in 2019                            
 Market                 Current   End 2018        Pct Move
 Singapore              3244      3068.76         5.71
 Bangkok                1641.94   1563.88         4.99
 Manila                 7644.02   7,466.02        2.38
 Jakarta                6517.678  6,194.50        5.22
 Kuala Lumpur           1693.69   1690.58         0.18
 Ho Chi Minh            990.7     892.54          11.00

($1 = 4.0720 ringgit)

($1 = 4.0700 ringgit)

 (Reporting by Shriya Ramakrishnan in Bengaluru; Editing by
Shreejay Sinha)
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