September 9, 2019 / 10:24 AM / 7 days ago

SE Asia Stocks-Most edge higher in thin trade; Philippines top gainer

    * Philippines rises for 4th straight session
    * Vietnam's Vingroup rises on unit stake sale
    * Malaysia market closed for holiday

    By Shreya Mariam Job
    Sept 9 (Reuters) - Southeast Asian stock markets closed
slightly higher in thin-volume trade on Monday, as investors
shrugged off an easing in lending norms by the Chinese central
bank and waited for more clarity on monetary easing by other
major central banks. 
    Investors now await the European Central Bank policy meeting
later this week and the Sept. 17-18 meeting of the U.S. Federal
Reserve for clues on rates.
    Investor sentiment was however broadly positive as weak data
out of the United States and China spurred hopes of further
stimulus measures to prop up floundering economic growth in the
world's two top economies.
    U.S. job growth slowed more than expected in August, with
retail hiring declining for a seventh straight month. Economists
said the report was consistent with an economy that was slowing.
    Meanwhile, China's exports unexpectedly fell in August, hurt
by a slowdown in shipments to the United States, raising the
case for more stimulus as the Sino-U.S. trade war drags on. 
    The bleak data comes after central banks of both countries
indicated a move toward sustaining economic growth. 
    Federal Reserve Chair Jerome Powell said the Fed would
continue to act "as appropriate" to sustain the economic
expansion in the world's biggest economy.
    Meanwhile, the People's Bank of China said it was cutting
the amount of cash that banks must hold as reserves for the
third time this year, releasing 900 billion yuan ($126.35
billion) in liquidity to shore up the flagging economy.

    "Clearly, China is moving away from the direct prime-pump
while focusing more on boosting consumption and structural
reform. This may limit the spill-over effect of China's stimulus
on the regional economies," OCBC said in a note to clients.    
    Data also shows valuations of Asian shares took a hit in
August after a sharp selloff due to an escalation in the
Sino-U.S. trade war, with MSCI's broadest index of Asia-Pacific
shares declining 3.4%. 
    Philippine stocks closed 0.3% higher, extending gains
into a fourth session, boosted by financials. 
    SM Prime Holdings Inc gained 1.3%, while Bank of
the Philippine Islands rose 4.2%. 
    Vietnam shares closed little changed, with real
estate conglomerate Vingroup JSC rising 1.2% after a
consortium led by Singapore's state investor GIC Pte Ltd
         signed an agreement to buy a stake in one of its units
for $500 million.
    Indonesian shares rose 0.3%, driven by consumer and
energy stocks. 
    United Tractors Tbk Pt rose 8%, while Charoen
Pokphand Indonesia Tbk Pt advanced 5.5%. 
    The Malaysian stock market was closed for a holiday.

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SOUTHEAST ASIAN STOCK MARKETS
    
 Change on the day                                
 Market                 Current   Previous close  Pct Move
 Singapore              3146.33   3144.48         0.06
 Bangkok                1671.22   1670.06         0.07
 Manila                 7960.12   7933.47         0.34
 Jakarta                6326.213  6308.95         0.27
 Ho Chi Minh            974.12    974.08          0.00
                                                  
 Change so far in 2019                            
 Market                 Current   End 2018        Pct Move
 Singapore              3146.33   3068.76         2.53
 Bangkok                1671.22   1563.88         6.86
 Manila                 7960.12   7,466.02        6.62
 Jakarta                6326.213  6,194.50        2.13
 Ho Chi Minh            974.12    892.54          9.14
 
 (Reporting by Shreya Mariam Job in Bengaluru; Editing by
Subhranshu Sahu)
  
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