SE Asia Stocks: Philippines jumps ahead of inflation data, Singapore slides

By Reuters   January 3, 2019 | 12:33 am PT
SE Asia Stocks: Philippines jumps ahead of inflation data, Singapore slides
People walk past the Hanoi Stock Exchange in Hanoi, Vietnam. Photo by Reuters
Most Southeast Asian shares climbed on Thursday, with Philippine markets leading gains ahead of the release of inflation figures, while Singaporean stocks bucked the trend to fall sharply.

Philippine stocks gained 1.04 percent, as industrial shares SM Investments Corp and JG Summit Holdings Inc propelled the index.

A Reuters poll shows that the country's inflation is expected to cool to a six-month low in December, making it likely the Philippine central bank will leave policy rates unchanged this year.

"The investors were mainly concerned about inflation during 2018," said Rachelle Cruz an analyst at AP Securities in Manila. 

"So now we're seeing some buying in the index stocks as there's better expectation on earnings growth now, since that concern seems to be fading," Cruz said.

Local investors appeared to be buying more because some Philippine companies have reached "very attractive valuations," she added.

A surge in consumer goods stocks powered a 0.4 percent advance in Indonesian shares.

Shares in Malaysia and Thailand also rose, by 0.56 percent and 0.71 percent respectively.

In Kuala Lumpur tourist resort chain Genting Malaysia Berhad added 2.7 percent and palm oil producer Sime Darby Plantation Berhad rose 3.3 percent, while in Bangkok energy stocks provided the biggest boost to the benchmark.

Meanwhile, Singaporean shares edged 0.81 percent lower, with Thai Beverage PCL dropping 3.3 percent and industrial conglomerate Jardine Strategic Holdings Ltd losing 1.4 percent.

Vietnamese stocks also shed just above 0.8 percent, with most major sectors in the red. Real-estate stocks like Vinhomes JSC and Vingroup JSC, which powered a rally on Wednesday, fell around 2 percent apiece.

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