Most SE Asian markets rise on trade optimism

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BENGALURU (Aug 30): Most Southeast Asian stock markets inched higher on Thursday, in line with broader Asia on expectations negotiations over the North American Free Trade Agreement (NAFTA) will lead to a further easing of global trade tensions.

Leaders of the United States and Canada expressed optimism on Wednesday that they could reach new NAFTA deal by a Friday deadline as negotiators prepared to talk through the night.

The White House said it wanted to settle NAFTA before negotiating with China. The deadline for public comment on US President Donald Trump's tariffs on another $200 billion of Chinese goods is on Sept 5, with the new measures possibly taking effect next month.

"While the US demonstrates willingness to compromise on NAFTA, according to Canada's foreign minister, market doubts that whether the US will keep the same negotiating stance when it comes to China," Mizuho Bank said in a note.

Philippine shares rose to a three-week high, driven by industrials and financials. Blue chips SM Investments Corp and BDO Unibank climbed about 0.6% and 1%, respectively.

Malaysian shares were largely flat as gains in consumer staples and energy offset losses in telecom stocks.

Dialog Group, which provides technical services to the oil & gas sector, rose 1.5%, while Telekom Malaysia slid over 6% after the company reported a sharp drop in quarterly net profit on Wednesday.

Indonesian shares rose marginally, helped by financial and material stocks. Bank Central Asia led the gains, adding 1.1%, while packaging materials maker Indah Kiat Pulp & Paper was a close second with a 1% rise.

Thai shares advanced for a fourth consecutive session with financial and industrial stocks leading the gains. Airports of Thailand was among the top contributors, adding 0.8%, while Bank of Ayudhya rose over 1%.

Thailand will release July trade data on Friday.

Meanwhile, Singapore shares fell 0.7%, dragged by financials and industrials. United Overseas Bank was the biggest drag with a drop of 1.6%, while Jardine Matheson Holdings slid 1.2%.

SOUTHEAST ASIAN STOCK MARKETS: AS AT 0405GMT
Change on the day

Market             Current   Previous close  % move
Singapore          3220.81   3243.92         -0.71
Bangkok            1727.18   1722.26         0.29
Manila             7855.42   7830.96         0.31
Jakarta            6075.184  6065.149        0.17
Kuala Lumpur       1819.16   1820.64         -0.08
Ho Chi Minh        985.88    988.17          -0.23

Change on year

Market             Current   End 2017        % move
Singapore          3220.81   3402.92         -5.35
Bangkok            1727.18   1753.71         -1.51
Manila             7855.42   8558.42         -8.21
Jakarta            6075.184  6355.654        -4.41
Kuala Lumpur       1819.16   1796.81         1.24
Ho Chi Minh        985.88    984.24          0.17