Most SE Asian stocks rise tracking Asian peers; Philippines jumps 1.2%

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(Aug 8): Philippine stocks rose over 1% on Wednesday ahead of GDP data release and central bank meeting, while most other Southeast Asian markets gained in line with broader Asian peers, supported by upbeat Wall Street earnings.

Asia shares ex-Japan rose modestly in the middle of a strong second-quarter US earnings season and on expectations that Beijing will ramp up fiscal stimulus to cushion the impact of its trade dispute with Washington.    

Manila's central bank looks certain to raise interest rates for a third time this year at its meeting on Thursday, which comes shortly after government data showed annual inflation move further above its 2%-4% target range for 2018.

Boosted by industrials and banking stocks, Philippine shares snapped two straight sessions of declines to climb as much as 1.2%.

"The inflation number surged in July, but today the rise in US stock markets as well as the positioning ahead of the release of the second-quarter GDP bolstered investor confidence," said Manny Cruz, analyst, Manila-based Asiasec Equities Inc.

However, Philippine imports in June grew at the fastest pace this year while exports dipped, bringing the trade deficit to more than US$3 billion for a third straight month, government data showed on Wednesday.

Thai shares extended gains, with gas supplier PTT Public Co being the biggest boost.

Thailand's central bank is expected to leave its policy interest rate unchanged later in the day, to aid economic growth as inflation remains benign and policymakers say capital outflows are not currently a concern.

Malaysian stocks inched higher, with telecom company Axiata Group Bhd climbing as much as 1.8%.

Indonesian shares recovered from previous session's losses, buoyed by materials and consumer stocks. Paper manufacturer Tjiwi Kimia jumped 11.8% to its highest in over a month.

Bucking the trend, Singapore stocks fell nearly 1%, pulled down by financials.

Financial service provider DBS Group Holdings was the biggest drag on the index, while Southeast Asia's largest telecom operator Singapore Telecommunications hit a one-month low after reporting a 6.6% fall in first-quarter profit.

SOUTHEAST ASIAN STOCK MARKETS AS AT 0439 GMT

Market          Current   Previous close  % move
Singapore       3321.01   3340            -0.57
Bangkok         1715.82   1707.26         0.50
Manila          7802.92   7725.85         1.00
Jakarta         6098.881  6091.25         0.13
Kuala Lumpur    1798.13   1791.09         0.39
Ho Chi Minh     962.22    956.79          0.57

Change on year

Market          Current   End 2017        % move
Singapore       3321.01   3402.92         -2.41
Bangkok         1715.82   1753.71         -2.16
Manila          7802.92   8558.42         -8.83
Jakarta         6098.881  6355.654        -4.04
Kuala Lumpur    1798.13   1796.81         0.07
Ho Chi Minh     962.22    984.24          -2.24