January 8, 2020 / 3:45 AM / 11 days ago

SE Asia Stocks-Tumble as Mideast tensions rise after Iran attacks U.S. forces

    * "Market's risk aversion interest on fire" - analyst
    * Singapore sees worst session in over 5 months
    * Indonesia hits lowest in 3 weeks

    By Sameer Manekar
    Jan 8 (Reuters) - Southeast Asian stock markets plunged on
Wednesday, as investors turned risk averse due to rising
tensions in the Middle East after Iran fired rockets at U.S.
forces in Iraq. 
    Singapore's benchmark index declined as much as 1.7%,
marking its worst fall in a session in more than five months.
    Losses in blue-chip stocks dragged the index, with
heavyweights DBS Group Holdings and Jardine Matheson
Holdings losing 1.5% and 0.7%.
    Tehran's missile attack early on Wednesday was in
retaliation to the U.S. drone strike last week that killed
Iranian commander Qassem Soleimani.
    "Retaliatory action taken by Iran in the face of the
on-going U.S.-Iran tensions sets the market's risk aversion
interest on fire," Jingyi Pan, market strategist at IG Asia
said.
    "With expectations of further friction from here, investors
are appearing to be pricing for an all-out war."
    In broader Asia, MSCI's index of Asia-Pacific shares outside
Japan was 1% lower shortly after China's share
markets began trading.
    The Philippine bourse fell most in over three weeks,
with financials and consumer sectors weighing on the index. BDO
Unibank slipped 1.3% and consumer food firm Universal
Robina Corp fell 3.1%.
    Malaysian stocks were down 1%, dragged by
heavyweights like Public Bank and Petronas Chemicals
Group, which lost 1% and 0.8% each.
    Banking and consumer sectors suffered heavy losses in the
Indonesian equities, which hit its lowest in three
weeks. An index measuring the country's 45 most liquid stocks
 dropped up to 1%.
    Bank Rakyat Indonesia was down 0.5% and Unilever
Indonesia 0.9%.
    Thai benchmark index lost as much as 1.5%, with
Airports of Thailand declining 1.7% and Kasikornbank
Pcl falling 2.5%.
    Real estate and financials weighed on Vietnam stocks,
with Vinhomes Jsc and Bank for Foreign Trade of Vietnam
 losing 1.1% and 1.3%.

    
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SOUTHEAST ASIAN STOCK MARKETS AS AT 0323 GMT
 Market                 Current  Previous close  Pct Move
 Singapore              3225.73  3247.86         -0.68
 Bangkok                1562.46  1585.23         -1.44
 Manila                 7756.49  7840.7          -1.07
 Jakarta                6244.08  6279.346        -0.56
 Kuala Lumpur           1595.37  1611.04         -0.97
 Ho Chi Minh            952.03   958.88          -0.71
                                                 
 Change so far in 2020                           
 Market                 Current  End 2019        Pct Move
 Singapore              3225.73  3222.83         0.09
 Bangkok                1562.46  1579.84         -1.10
 Manila                 7756.49  7,815.26        -0.75
 Jakarta                6244.08  6,299.54        -0.88
 Kuala Lumpur           1595.37  1588.76         0.42
 Ho Chi Minh            952.03   960.99          -0.93
 

 (Reporting by Sameer Manekar in Bengaluru; Editing by Arun
Koyyur)
  
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