October 10, 2019 / 9:54 AM / 11 days ago

SE Asia Stocks-Most end lower, trade fears turn investors cautious

    * High-level Sino-U.S. trade talks to begin on Thursday
    * World Bank says Asia-Pacific economic growth to slow
    * Thai cenbank officials say economy growing below potential

    By Soumyajit Saha
    Oct 10 (Reuters) - Most Southeast Asian stock markets closed
in the red on Thursday amid cautious mood as market participants
awaited high-level Sino-U.S. trade talks to begin, while
Philippines ended over 1% firmer.
    The first minister-level trade talks in months is slated to
begin later in the day, as the world's top two economies attempt
to blunt the blow of a tit-for-tat tariff war that has battered
growth worldwide.
    Elsewhere, a World Bank report said Asia Pacific economies
are expected to slow this year due to uncertainty around trade
tensions, while a slowdown in major global economies could
further hurt the region's exports.
    "I think we will see people taking a more cautionary
approach and holding positions, given the risk that the outcome
of the talk might have a negative impact on the markets," said
Linus Loo, head of research, Lim & Tan Securities.
    Real-estate and banking sectors boosted the Philippines'
benchmark index to close over 1% higher, though trading
took place in low volumes.
    Property developer SM Prime Holdings gained 1.6%,
while Bank of the Philippine Islands was up 1.7%.
    "Discounting the AllHome listing, the activity is low given
that there is no new information from the trade talks, so it
doesn't add much to the relative strength," Charles William Ang,
associate analyst at COL Financial Group said.
    Home furnishing retailer AllHome Corp opened
slightly higher in their stock market debut after a $250 million
share sale excluding over-allotment option.
    Philippines' trade deficit narrowed to $2.41 billion in
August from a deficit of $3.39 billion in July, as exports rose
0.6% year-on-year.
    Industrial and banking sectors weighed on the Thai index
 as it closed lower for a seventh session in nine.
   Cement maker Siam Cement lost 2.9%, while lender
Central Pattana ended down 2%.
    Thailand's economy is not in recession but growing below
potential, and the Bank of Thailand is ready to take action if
needed, central bank officials said on Thursday.
    Stocks in Singapore, which is among the most
vulnerable to the trade dispute with China being the region's
biggest trading partner, ended at their lowest in nearly a week,
dented by losses in industrial and real-estate sectors. 
                
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SOUTHEAST ASIAN STOCK MARKETS
  STOCK MARKETS                                             
  Change on the day                                         
  Market             Current        Previous      Pct Move
                                    close         
  Singapore          3089.48        3089.9        -0.01
  Bangkok            1607.5         1616.18       -0.54
  Manila             7765.03        7681.25       1.09
  Jakarta            6023.641       6029.16       -0.09
  Kuala Lumpur       1551.87        1551.23       0.04
 Ho Chi Minh         987.38         987.83        -0.05
                                                  
  Change so far in                                
 2019                                             
  Market             Current        End 2018      Pct Move
  Singapore          3089.48        3068.76       0.68
  Bangkok            1607.5         1563.88       2.79
  Manila             7765.03        7,466.02      4.00
  Jakarta            6023.641       6,194.50      -2.76
  Kuala Lumpur       1551.87        1690.58       -8.20
  Ho Chi Minh        987.38         892.54        10.63
 
 (Reporting by Soumyajit Saha in Bengaluru)
  
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