March 13, 2020 / 10:27 AM / in 22 days

SE Asia Stocks-Most trim early losses on stimulus hopes, bargain-hunting

    * Philippines ends 1% higher, after falling up to 11%
    * Indonesia prepares $8.1 bln stimulus to support economy
    * All markets post biggest weekly losses in over a decade

    By Sameer Manekar
    March 13 (Reuters) - Most Southeast Asian stock markets
recovered on Friday, after sinking in early trade, on hopes that
moves by policymakers at home and abroad would prevent the
global economy from plunging into a recession. 
    Still, regional markets suffered their worst week in more
than a decade, pulled down by heavy losses earlier in the week
due to crashing oil prices and panic over the coronavirus. 
    On Friday, Thai and Philippine stocks fell as
much as 13.1% and 11.1%, respectively. However, both the indexes
swung into positive territory as Manila ordered state pension
funds to boost daily investments and Bangkok said it will hold
talks to set up an over $941 million fund to support the market.

    Hopes for a U.S. stimulus package and the U.S. Federal
Reserve's move to offer $1.5 trillion in short-term loans also
helped markets find a floor.  
    "With central banks showering the market with liquidity
again today, the thought here is that at some point, the
aggressive policy measure to counteract this expected economic
downturn will eventually cause the market to rally," said
Stephen Innes, chief market strategist at AxiCorp.
    However, Malaysian stocks shed 5.3% and were the top
losers in the region after data showed the country's factory
output slowed for a second straight month in January.

    The index lost 9.3% over the week, the most since mid-2001.
    Singapore shares fell 1.7%, having fallen up to 6.3%.
The index logged its worst week since the financial crisis in
2008.
    Among gainers, the Philippine bourse staged a sharp
comeback to end 1% higher. 
    Given recent losses, there was some bargain-hunting at play,
with the stimulus announcements helping sentiment, said Rachelle
Cruz, analyst at AP Securities.
    In tourism-dependent Thailand, stocks rebounded to end 1.3%
higher, after a plunge earlier triggered a circuit breaker. The
benchmark lost nearly 18% this week, the most since 2008.
    A drop of over 5% in Indonesian shares had also
triggered a circuit breaker. However, the index recovered to
gain 0.2%.
    The Indonesian government has prepared a 120 trillion rupiah
($8.1 billion) stimulus package to support Southeast Asia's
biggest economy.
    
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SOUTHEAST ASIAN STOCK MARKETS
 Change on the day                                
 Market                 Current   Previous close  Pct Move
 Singapore              2634      2678.64         -1.67
 Bangkok                1128.91   1114.91         1.26
 Manila                 5793.94   5736.27         1.01
 Jakarta                4907.571  4895.748        0.24
 Kuala Lumpur           1344.75   1419.43         -5.26
 Ho Chi Minh            761.78    769.25          -0.97
                                                  
 Change so far in 2020                            
 Market                 Current   End 2019        Pct Move
 Singapore              2634      3222.83         -18.27
 Bangkok                1128.91   1579.84         -28.54
 Manila                 5793.94   7,815.26        -25.86
 Jakarta                4907.571  6,299.54        -22.10
 Kuala Lumpur           1344.75   1588.76         -15.36
 Ho Chi Minh            761.78    960.99          -20.73
 


 (Reporting by Sameer Manekar in Bengaluru; Editing by Aditya
Soni)
  
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