Most SE Asian stocks gain on optimism ahead of US-China trade talks

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BENGALURU (Aug 20): Most Southeast Asian stock markets rose on Monday ahead of the Sino-US trade talks due later in the week, with Indonesia climbing more than 1% on broad-based buying.

China and the United States are set to hold lower-level trade talks on Wednesday, offering hope that they might resolve an escalating tariff war that threatens to engulf all trade between the world's two largest economies.

"Even if nothing conclusive may be achieved this week, there could be an implicit promise of a ceasefire with no escalation in the interim," Mizuho Bank said in a note.

The Jakarta index started the week on a strong note, rising as much as 1.6%, after a long weekend. Financial markets in Indonesia were closed on Friday for a national holiday.

Consumer products maker Astra International, up 2.5%, led the gains while communications service provider Telekomunikasi Indonesia added 1.2%.

An index of the country's 45 most liquid stocks was up 2%.

"Most of the negatives have been already baked into the cake. What the market needed was some kind of a relief," said Taye Shim, head of research at Mirae Asset Sekuritas.

It has come in the form of trade talks, Shim added.

Thai stocks were trading 0.5% higher, helped by gains in energy stocks, and were set to end firmer for a third straight session. Oil and gas producer PTT rose nearly over 1%.

Thailand's economy grew at a slower pace in April-June than in the previous quarter, but in line with forecast, with data showing the economy expanded 1% over the previous three months on a seasonally adjusted basis.

Financials and industrials were among the top gainers, with Siam Commercial Bank and Airports of Thailand adding more than 1%.

Meanwhile, Singapore was marginally up on financials.

The city-state's top lender DBS Group Holdings gained 0.5% while Oversea-Chinese Banking Corp rose 0.8%.

However, Philippines shares edged lower as losses in financials offset gains in real estate stocks.

Index heavyweights Ayala Corp and Ayala Land were down 3% and 0.6%, respectively.

SOUTHEAST ASIAN STOCK MARKETS: AS AT 0414 GMT
Change on the day

Market             Current  Previous close  % move
Singapore          3217.06  3209.44         0.24
Bangkok            1698.92  1690.04         0.53
Manila             7562.98  7583.52         -0.27
Jakarta            5873.97  5783.798        1.56
Kuala Lumpur       1788.4   1783.47         0.28
Ho Chi Minh        970.55   968.88          0.17

Change on year

Market             Current  End 2017        % move
Singapore          3217.06  3402.92         -5.46
Bangkok            1698.92  1753.71         -3.12
Manila             7562.98  8558.42         -11.63
Jakarta            5873.97  6355.654        -7.58
Kuala Lumpur       1788.4   1796.81         -0.47
Ho Chi Minh        970.55   984.24          -1.39