SE Asia Stocks-Most climb on upbeat data; Vietnam scales fresh multi-yr peak

By Reuters   November 16, 2017 | 03:45 pm GMT+7

Vietnam shares jumped 0.6 percent to their highest since 2008.

Most Southeast Asian stock markets firmed on Thursday, with Indonesia climbing about 1 percent after a six-session losing streak and Vietnam scaling a fresh peak in nearly a decade, as upbeat U.S. and regional economic data boosted sentiment.

Broader Asian equities gained after data showed that underlying U.S. consumer prices increased in October and retail sales grew more than expected, highlighting strong economic growth.

The data is seen as setting the stage for a December rate hike by the Federal Reserve, an event largely factored in already by investors, and as raising the prospects for further monetary policy tightening.

"US PPI (Producer Price Index) was a big beat. Economists had expected an increase in October of 0.1 percent but instead, the print showed a bounce of 0.4 percent which lifted the year-on-year PPI to 2.8 percent from 2.6 percent and against expectations of a 2.4 percent," Greg McKenna, chief market strategist at CFD and FX provider AxiTrader, wrote in a note.

Regionally, the Philippine economy grew at a faster-than-expected pace of 6.9 percent in the third quarter, supported by strong industrial output and services, the statistics agency said.

Philippine shares climbed 0.1 percent, with real estate stocks leading the gains.

The Philippine government is optimistic about meeting its economic growth target of 6.5-7.5 percent for the year, the Economic Planning Secretary said in a statement.

The Indonesian index rose as much as 1.1 percent, marking its biggest intraday gain in two weeks, with the telecom sector accounting for most of the gains.

Indonesia's central bank is expected to keep its key interest rate unchanged in its policy decision on Thursday, despite sluggish economic growth.

Perusahaan Perseroan (Persero) PT Telekomunikasi Indonesia Tbk inched 1.9 percent higher, and was the biggest boost on the index.

Vietnam shares jumped 0.6 percent to their highest since January 2008.

After signing two agreements in last week's Asia-Pacific Economic Cooperation (APEC) summit to buy gas at home and from Indonesia, Vietnam could receive a significant boost to its natural gas supplies as soon as 2023, aiding expansion in its power and petrochemical sectors.

The deals could give gas field development across Southeast Asia a much-needed push after a slump in oil and gas prices in 2014 slowed investments.

Meanwhile, Malaysian shares declined 0.1 percent to an eight-month low, with health care and telecom stocks leading the losses.

IHH Healthcare Berhad was down 0.7 percent, while banker CIMB Group Holdings Berhad fell 0.2 percent.

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