November 7, 2018 / 10:26 AM / 8 days ago

SE Asia Stocks-Philippines falls 2 pct on widening trade deficit

    * Singapore trims early gains to close slightly higher
    * Indonesia gains for seventh consecutive session

    By Nikhil Subba
    Nov 7 (Reuters) - Philippine shares fell 2 percent on
Wednesday following disappointing September trade deficit data,
while other Southeast Asian markets closed marginally higher as
investors became more optimistic about trade negotiations
between Beijing and Washington after the U.S. midterm elections
results.
    As expected, the elections resulted in a split Congress,
with the Democrats winning control of the House of
Representatives, which gives them the power to intercept
President Donald Trump's business-friendly agenda and other
policies, including U.S.-China trade relations.
    "We have a virtuous environment for a year-end rally over
the next couple of weeks, notwithstanding the election results,"
said Liu Jinshu, director of research at NRA Capital.
    However, the prospect of a political gridlock arises with
the split Congress, creating some uncertainty for investors.

    Investors also awaited a two-day meeting of the Federal
Reserve starting later in the day to gauge the outlook for U.S.
monetary policy.
    In Southeast Asia, Philippine shares extended falls
into a second session, dragged mainly by SM Investments Corp
 and PLDT Inc.
    SM Investments fell 4.4 percent to a near two-week closing
low, while PLDT declined 5.6 percent to its lowest close since
late September.
    Data released earlier in the day showed imports hit an
all-time high in September while exports remained weak, bringing
the trade deficit to the highest in nine months amid sustained
purchases of capital goods needed for the government's
infrastructure overhaul.
    Singapore shares gave up earlier gains to close
marginally higher. Keppel Corp rose nearly 2 percent,
while Sembcorp Industries declined 0.7 percent. 
    Malaysian shares climbed for a second session in
three, helped primarily by telecommunication and industrial
stocks.
    Malaysia Airports Holdings was the top percentage
gainer on the benchmark stock index with an about 8 percent
jump, while mobile communication service provider Digi.com
 rose 3.7 percent to a near 3-week closing high.
    Meanwhile, the country's gross international reserves edged
down to $101.7 billion as of Oct. 31 from $102.8 billion as of
Oct. 15, the central bank said.
    Indonesian shares closed higher for a seventh
session in a row on the back of gains in industrials.
    Construction firm Totalindo Eka Persada climbed 1
percent, while Waskita Karya surged nearly 10 percent.
    Thai shares snapped two straight sessions of falls,
buoyed by utilities. Electricity producer Banpu Power
gained 2.5 percent, while Glow Energy rose almost a
percent.        
    
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SOUTHEAST ASIAN STOCK MARKETS
  Change on day                                    
  Market          Current      Previous    Pct Move
                               Close       
  Singapore       3064.31      3060.62     0.12
  Bangkok         1672.44      1669.33     0.36
  Manila          7033.93      7180.11     -2.04
  Jakarta         5939.886     5923.93     0.27
  Kuala Lumpur    1714.88      1708.8      0.36
  Ho Chi Minh     922.16       922.05      0.01
                                           
  Change on year                           
  Market          Current      End 2017    Pct Move
  Singapore       3064.31      3402.92     -9.95
  Bangkok         1672.44      1753.71     -4.47
  Manila          7033.93      8558.42     -17.81
  Jakarta         5939.886     6355.654    -6.54
  Kuala Lumpur    1714.88      1796.81     -4.56
  Ho Chi Minh     922.16       984.24      -6.31
 ($1 = 32.8200 baht)

 (Reporting by Nikhil Subba; Editing by Subhranshu Sahu)
  
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