Most SE Asian markets rise on Sino-US trade-talk hopes

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BENGALURU (Aug 21): Most Southeast Asian stock markets rose on Tuesday on hopes that the United States and China would be able to ease trade hostilities, while US President Donald Trump's comment about the Fed rate hike cycle calmed nerves about foreign fund outflows.

In an exclusive interview with Reuters, Trump said late on Monday he was "not thrilled" with the Federal Reserve under his own appointee, Chairman Jerome Powell, for raising interest rates and said the Fed should do more to help him to boost the economy.

The dollar index, which tracks performance against a basket of six major currencies, fell 0.35%.

Asian stocks were higher, tracking overnight strength on Wall Street, though gains were capped on caution ahead of the minutes of Fed meeting expected to be released on Wednesday.

Investors now await lower-level trade talks between the United States and China due to start this week. Speculation that the talks might help ease trade tensions has shored up the broader equity markets over the past few sessions.    

In Southeast Asia, Indonesian stocks rose for a second straight session and closed about 1% higher, led by consumer staples.

Charoen Pokphand Indonesia rose nearly 5%, while Kalbe Farma jumped over 8%.

An index of the country's 45 most liquid stocks gained 0.9%.

Malaysian stocks rose for a third consecutive session on broad-based gains. Petronas Gas led the rise with a 4.6% jump.

Singapore shares fell for a ninth straight session, weighed down by consumer staples and financials.

Lender DBS Group Holdings fell 0.7%, while Thai Beverage Pcl slipped 1.5%.

"High frequency data — industrial output, non-oil domestic exports, PMIs (purchasing managers' index), loan growth, container throughout and retail sales — are unanimously pointing to a weaker second half (for Singapore)," DBS Bank said in a note.

Thai shares erased early gains to end 0.4% lower, dragged by energy stocks, ahead of customs-based trade data for July on Wednesday.

Thailand likely recorded a trade surplus of US$0.15 billion in July, compared with June's US$1.58 billion surplus, a Reuters poll showed.

Oil and gas producer PTT Pcl led the decline, shedding over 1%, while Bangkok Dusit Medical Services Pcl fell nearly 3%.

"Thai shares are facing some profit-taking, and there are some uncertainties in local politics... we are seeing a tentative election date in February next year," said Teerada Charnyingyong, an analyst with Phillip Capital Thailand

The Philippine stock market was closed for a national holiday.

Change on the day

Market             Current   Previous close  % move
Singapore          3199.89   3204.71         -0.15
Bangkok            1694.63   1701.42         -0.40
Jakarta            5944.301  5892.192        0.88
Kuala Lumpur       1798.11   1787.58         0.59
Ho Chi Minh        979.21    969.62          0.99

Change on year

Market             Current   End 2017        % move
Singapore          3199.89   3402.92         -5.97
Bangkok            1694.63   1753.71         -3.37
Jakarta            5944.301  6355.654        -6.47
Kuala Lumpur       1798.11   1796.81         0.07
Ho Chi Minh        979.21    984.24          -0.51