Edition:
United Kingdom

Rashmi Ashok

Australia shares rise on soaring financials, led by CBA; NZ subdued

12 Apr 2019

* NZ snaps 9 weeks of gains, down 0.9 pct for the week (Updates to close)

Australia shares barely move, NZ slips as IMF downgrade fuels caution

10 Apr 2019

* No reason to buy stocks in current scenario - analyst (Updates to close)

Australia shares end flat, mining gains offset weak financials; NZ up

21 Mar 2019

* Miners rise after Vale halts operations at mine in Brazil (Updates to close)

Australia shares weaker on financials, healthcare weakness; NZ down

19 Mar 2019

* Mining stocks rise as iron ore prices firm (Updates to close)

Australian shares rise on mining surge, NZ closes at record high

18 Mar 2019

* Fortescue Metals closes at highest level in over 2 years (Updates to close)

SE Asia Stocks-Indonesia rises on surprise trade surplus, Philippines ends higher

15 Mar 2019

* Indonesia jumps after first trade surplus in 5 months * Indonesia posts 3rd day of gains, rises 1.2 pct for week * Philippines makes U-turn, rises as Jan remittances up 4.4 pct * Vietnam snaps 3 sessions of gains, but gains 1.9 pct during week By Rashmi Ashok March 15 Most Southeast Asian stocks advanced on Friday, with Indonesia gaining after the nation posted a surprise trade surplus in February, while Philippines erased losses to end higher as January remittances rose. Indonesian stocks jumped 0.8 percent, gaining 1.2 percent during the week, after the country posted its first trade surplus in five months in February, as imports unexpectedly fell sharply, according to data from the statistics bureau. The country had a surplus of $329.5 million in February, compared with a Reuters poll prediction of a $700 million deficit. "The slowdown in imports doesn't necessarily mean that domestic demand is weak. I think part of it is due to the impact of the policymakers' efforts to reduce imports, like selected infrastructure projects... it appears that what they are doing is now having its impact," said Leo Putra Rinaldy, economist at PT Mandiri Sekuritas. Indonesia has been struggling to reduce its trade deficit, after it hit a record high of $8.5 billion last year, with authorities raising import taxes and relaxing export rules to narrow the gap. Meanwhile, Philippine stocks reversed course, wiping out the day's loss of 0.6 percent to close with as much gains. The index was boosted by real estate stocks, with SM Prime Holdings Inc and Ayala Land Inc rising 3.5 percent and 0.7 percent, respectively. Fortunes of the index changed after data released by the Philippine Central Bank showed that the country's January remittances rose 4.4 percent from the previous year to $2.484 billion. Noting that median estimates had pegged growth to settle at 4 percent for January, ING said in a note, "Remittances continue to provide a steady stream of foreign currency but have yet to break out of the 3-5 percent growth range they have been stuck in recent years." The data appeared to help the market shake off the subdued sentiment that had prevailed after the Philippines on Wednesday cut its 2019 GDP growth target, citing a delay in final legislative approval of the budget. Malaysian stocks also rose, with food products manufacturer Nestle (Malaysia) Berhad gaining 0.5 percent and lender Hong Leong Bank Bhd adding 2.6 percent. Vietnam index edged lower, snapping three straight sessions of gains, but was the best performer during the week, gaining about 1.9 percent. For Asian Companies click; SOUTHEAST ASIAN STOCK MARKETS Change on the day Market Current Previous close Pct Move Singapore 3200.18 3197.92 0.07 Bangkok 1625.57 1635.88 -0.63 Manila 7798.28 7750.42 0.62 Jakarta 6461.183 6413.266 0.75 Kuala Lumpur 1680.54 1674.52 0.36 Ho Chi Minh 1004.12 1008.44 -0.43 Change so far in 2019 Market Current End 2018 Pct Move Singapore 3200.18 3068.76 4.28 Bangkok 1625.57 1563.88 3.94 Manila 7798.28 7,466.02 4.45 Jakarta 6461.183 6,194.50 4.31 Kuala Lumpur 1680.54 1690.58 -0.59 Ho Chi Minh 1004.12 892.54 12.50 (Reporting by Rashmi Ashok in Bengaluru; Editing by Shreejay Sinha)

SE Asia Stocks-Indonesia rises after surprise trade surplus; Philippines falls

15 Mar 2019

* Indonesia posts first trade surplus in 5 months * Financials boost Singapore after tepid previous session * Philippines slips, industrial heavyweights fall By Rashmi Ashok March 15 The Indonesian stock market rose on Friday after data showed a surprise trade surplus last month, while Singapore and Malaysia rose amid reports of progress in Sino-U.S. talks, which somewhat tempered the cautious sentiment gripping the region. Indonesian stocks jumped 0.6 percent, after the largest economy in Southeast Asia posted a surprise trade surplus in February for the first time in five months, as imports unexpectedly fell sharply, according to data from its statistics bureau. The country had a surplus of $329.5 million in February, compared with a Reuters poll prediction of a $700 million gap. "The slowdown on imports doesn't necessarily mean that domestic demand is weak. I think part of it is due to the impact of the policymakers' efforts to reduce imports, like selected infrastructure projects... it appears that what they are doing is now having its impact," said Leo Putra Rinaldy, economist at PT Mandiri Sekuritas. Indonesia has been struggling to reduce its trade deficit, after it hit a record high of $8.5 billion last year, with authorities raising import taxes and relaxing export rules to narrow the gap. Financial stocks boosted the benchmark, with Bank Negara Indonesia (Persero) Tbk gaining 2.3 percent while Bank Central Asia Tbk rose about 0.5 percent. Singapore's index rose 0.4 percent, driven by financial stocks, with DBS Group Holdings rising 0.6 percent and Oversea-Chinese Banking Corp Ltd advancing 0.4 percent. Reports of headway in trade talks between China, the region's largest trading partner, and the United States appeared to help sentiment, with broader Asian stocks also on the uptick. Chinese Vice Premier Liu He spoke by telephone with U.S. Treasury Secretary Steven Mnuchin and U.S. Trade Representative Robert Lighthizer, with the two sides making further substantive progress on trade talks, Xinhua news agency said on Friday. The Malaysian benchmark ticked up, with glove manufacturer Top Glove Corporation Bhd rising 1.6 percent and food products retailer Nestle (Malaysia) Berhad up 0.4 percent. Meanwhile, Philippine stocks slipped 0.5 percent, dragged by industrial stocks. Index heavyweights SM Investments Corp and Aboitiz Equity Ventures, Inc dragged the index, slipping 1.6 percent and 1.5 percent, respectively. Indexes of Thailand and Vietnam edged lower. For Asian Companies click; SOUTHEAST ASIAN STOCK MARKETS at 0353 GMT Change on the day Market Current Previous close Pct Move Singapore 3209.75 3197.92 0.37 Bangkok 1631.79 1635.88 -0.25 Manila 7712.51 7750.42 -0.49 Jakarta 6452.695 6413.266 0.61 Kuala Lumpur 1677.13 1674.52 0.16 Ho Chi Minh 1005.54 1008.44 -0.29 Change so far in 2019 Market Current End 2018 Pct Move Singapore 3209.75 3068.76 4.59 Bangkok 1631.79 1563.88 4.34 Manila 7712.51 7,466.02 3.30 Jakarta 6452.695 6,194.50 4.17 Kuala Lumpur 1677.13 1690.58 -0.80 Ho Chi Minh 1005.54 892.54 12.66 (Reporting by Rashmi Ashok in Bengaluru; Editing by Rashmi Aich)

SE Asia Stocks-Indonesia rises after Fitch affirms rating; others subdued

14 Mar 2019

* Indonesia gained from improved risk appetite towards emerging markets - Fitch * Philippines, Malaysia and Thailand edge lower By Rashmi Ashok March 14 Indonesian shares rose on Thursday after Fitch affirmed Jakarta's rating with a stable outlook, while other southeast Asian markets struggled as investors turned cautious amid mixed economic data from China. The main Jakarta stock index, which had traded sideways early in the day, settled 0.6 percent higher after the global ratings agency affirmed the country's credit rating at 'BBB' with its outlook as stable. "Indonesia has benefitted from improved global risk appetite towards emerging markets following the U.S. Fed's shift to more dovish monetary policy communication late last year," the agency noted. The agency added that Indonesia's ratings balance a favourable GDP growth outlook and a small government debt burden with external challenges. Boosting the index were consumers stocks. Paper product makers Indah Kiat Pulp & Paper Tbk rose 3.1 percent while Pabrik Kertas Tjiwi Kimia Tbk gained 6.1 percent. Singapore index pared losses to end little changed as lenders UOL Group Ltd rose 1.8 percent while DBS Group Holdings Ltd added 0.5 percent. Vietnamese stocks rose as utilities and industrial stocks boosted the index, but gains were capped by a drop in consumer shares. Oil and gas refiner Petrovietnam Gas JSC rose 0.7 percent, while construction company Coteccons Construction advanced 1.6 percent. Meanwhile, Thailand, Malaysia and Philippines lost ground as caution took hold after mixed data emerged from China. China's January-February industrial output slipped to a 17-year low, but investment picked up pace during the period as the government boosted road and rail projects in a bid to avert a slowdown. Philippine shares were dragged by industrial heavyweights such as JG Summit Holdings Inc and SM Investments Corp. Malaysian stocks also edged lower, with telecommunications major Axiata Group Berhad losing about 1.4 percent. Consumer stocks such as Home Product Center PCL and Siam Makro PCL dragged the Thai index lower . For Asian Companies click; SOUTHEAST ASIAN STOCK MARKETS Change on the day Market Current Previous close Pct Move Singapore 3197.92 3195.59 0.07 Bangkok 1635.88 1639.67 -0.23 Manila 7750.42 7766.15 -0.20 Jakarta 6413.266 6377.575 0.56 Kuala Lumpur 1674.52 1678.24 -0.22 Ho Chi Minh 1008.44 1005.41 0.30 Change so far in 2019 Market Current End 2018 Pct Move Singapore 3197.92 3068.76 4.21 Bangkok 1635.88 1563.88 4.60 Manila 7750.42 7,466.02 3.81 Jakarta 6413.266 6,194.50 3.53 Kuala Lumpur 1674.52 1690.58 -0.95 Ho Chi Minh 1008.44 892.54 12.99 (Reporting by Rashmi Ashok; Editing by Shreejay Sinha)

SE Asia Stocks-Remain in wait-and-watch mode after mixed China data

14 Mar 2019

* China's Jan-Feb industrial output slips, investment picks up * Profit taking may be likely in near term - Singapore analyst By Rashmi Ashok March 14 Southeast Asian stock markets remained subdued on Thursday in thin trade, as investors chose to wait and watch, after a mixed set of economic data from the region's largest trading partner China kept them on edge. China's January-February industrial output slipped to a 17-year low, but investment picked up pace during the period as the government boosted road and rail projects in a bid to avert a slowdown. However, retail sales were marginally better-than-expected, with the headline figure rising 8.2 percent in January-February from a year earlier, in line with December. Singapore's index slipped for a second straight day amid thinly traded volumes, after posting the sole loss in the region in the previous session. "Investors seem to be taking a wait and see approach, reflected by the lower trading volumes. Fundamental data is really weakening," said Joel Ng, analyst at KGI Securities, referring to China's industrial output data. He added that profit taking was likely in the near term as a result of China's downcast data, as investors looked closely for signs of a slowing in Singapore's largest trading partner's economy Lender Oversea-Chinese Banking Corp Ltd edged lower, while index heavyweight Jardine Matheson Holdings Ltd fell about 2.6 percent to weigh on the index. Philippine's index also slipped, as financial and consumer stocks both weighed on the index. Metropolitan Bank & Trust Company fell 1 percent while food and beverage manufacturer Universal Robina Corp lost 1.2 percent. Meanwhile, investors in Indonesia and Thailand appeared non-committal, with shares trading little changed. Malaysian stocks edged slightly lower. Vietnamese stocks slipped, with consumer stocks weighing on the country's benchmark. Dairy processor Vietnam Dairy Products JSC was down nearly 1 percent. For Asian Companies click; SOUTHEAST ASIAN STOCK MARKETS at 0318 GMT Change on the day Market Current Previous close Pct Move Singapore 3191.71 3195.59 -0.12 Bangkok 1641.05 1639.67 0.08 Manila 7749.18 7766.15 -0.22 Jakarta 6381.403 6377.575 0.06 Kuala Lumpur 1675.62 1678.24 -0.16 Ho Chi Minh 1002.35 1005.41 -0.30 Change so far in 2019 Market Current End 2018 Pct Move Singapore 3191.71 3068.76 4.01 Bangkok 1641.05 1563.88 4.93 Manila 7749.18 7,466.02 3.79 Jakarta 6381.403 6,194.50 3.02 Kuala Lumpur 1675.62 1690.58 -0.88 Ho Chi Minh 1002.35 892.54 12.30 (Reporting by Rashmi Ashok in Bengaluru; Editing by Rashmi Aich)

SE Asia Stocks-Most end higher after tepid trade; Singapore slips

13 Mar 2019

* Singapore sole loser, banks and real estate weigh * Caution ahead of China industrial output data subdues sentiment * Philippines cuts GDP growth target for 2019 after bell By Rashmi Ashok March 13 Most Southeast Asian stocks closed higher in lacklustre trade on Wednesday, while Singapore slipped as caution prevailed ahead of China's industrial output data. Singapore stocks were the sole losers in the region, ending 0.5 percent lower. China's January-February industrial output and retail sales data is due on Thursday. With recent gloomy economic data arising out of the world's second-largest economy, Singapore's market appeared to grapple with concerns about slowing global growth and trade. "In the end, you still go back to fundamentals, and that is slowing trade and slowing economies. Expectations are not at a high level for Chinese data... I think there's some cautiousness ahead of that," said Joel Ng, an analyst at KGI Securities. Among top losers were lender DBS Group Holdings Ltd that slid 1.3 percent and food retailer Dairy Farm International Holdings Ltd which slumped nearly 4 percent. Most markets in the region staged a recovery, led by Thailand, just before the bell after trading weaker through the session. Thai stocks rose 0.7 percent, with hospital operator Bangkok Dusit Medical Services PCL gaining 0.8 percent. A rise in oil prices also helped prop up the energy- heavy index. Malaysian stocks firmed 0.4 percent, with telecommunication provider and index-heavyweight Axiata Group Bhd rising about 4 percent and lender RHB Bank Berhad gaining 2.8 percent. Indonesian stocks, which were little changed during mid-afternoon trade, changed track to settle 0.4 percent higher. Among the top gainers were household products manufacturer Unilever Indonesia Tbk and animal feed supplier Charoen Pokphand Indonesia Tbk, which rose 2 percent and 5 percent, respectively. Vietnamese stocks added 0.4 percent. Real estate and financial stocks largely underpinned gains. Philippine stocks closed 0.2 percent higher, before the country slashed its growth forecasts for this year and the next. Philippines cut its GDP growth target for the year 2019 to 6-7 percent, instead of 7-8 percent, citing the impact of a delay in the approval from the legislature for the year's budget. The growth target for the next year was been trimmed, to 6.5-7.5 percent, from 7-8 percent. For Asian Companies click; SOUTHEAST ASIAN STOCK MARKETS Change on the day Market Current Previous close Pct Move Singapore 3195.59 3212.25 -0.52 Bangkok 1639.67 1627.59 0.74 Manila 7766.15 7747.54 0.24 Jakarta 6377.575 6353.774 0.37 Kuala Lumpur 1678.24 1671.28 0.42 Ho Chi Minh 1005.41 1001.32 0.41 Change so far in 2019 Market Current End 2018 Pct Move Singapore 3195.59 3068.76 4.13 Bangkok 1639.67 1563.88 4.85 Manila 7766.15 7,466.02 4.02 Jakarta 6377.575 6,194.50 2.96 Kuala Lumpur 1678.24 1690.58 -0.73 Ho Chi Minh 1005.41 892.54 12.65 (Reporting by Rashmi Ashok in Bengaluru; Editing by Shreejay Sinha)

World News

Sri Lankan police hunt 140 people after Easter bombings

Sri Lankan police are trying to track down 140 people believed linked to Islamic State, which claimed responsibility for the Easter Sunday suicide bombings of churches and hotels that killed 253 people, President Maithripala Sirisena said on Friday.