Most SE Asian stocks slip as markets eye Trump-Xi meeting for cues

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(Nov 30): Most Southeast Asian stocks slipped on Friday after sluggish Chinese factory growth data as all eyes turned to talks between US and Chinese leaders, while industrials and telecom shares propped up Singaporean stocks.

Shares in broader Asia were also slightly lower ahead of the Sino-US talks at the G20 summit in Argentina, which could decide the course of a months-long trade war between the two nations.

The run-up to the meeting between US President Donald Trump and Chinese counterpart Xi Jinping has been dominated by heightened trade tariff threats as well as hopes of a truce, keeping investors on edge all week.

Data on Friday showed growth in China's vast manufacturing sector had stalled for the first time in over two years in November, adding pressure on Beijing before the G20 meeting.

"Since Singapore gives higher dividends in the region, I think there is a shift a bit more to the defensive stocks compared to other markets that are exposed to growth in China, like Indonesia," said Joel Ng, an analyst at Singapore-based KGI Securities.

In Singapore, industrial and telecom stocks propped up the benchmark, with Golden Agri-Resources gaining 2.2% and Jardine Strategic Holdings rising 2.7%.

Indonesian shares fell 0.40%, with financials and materials shares dominating the losses. United Tractors Tbk PT dropped 4.7% and Bank Central Asia Tbk PT slipped 1%.

China is the biggest trade partner for most countries in Southeast Asia, including Indonesia.

Vietnam stocks slid 0.41%, while consumer non-cyclicals and industrials stocks drove Malaysian shares slightly lower.

Thai shares traded 0.1% higher, as financials and energy stocks boosted gains. Siam Commercial Bank PCL climbed 1.8% and Birner Dental Management Services Inc edged up 1%.

Philippine markets are closed for a holiday.

SOUTHEAST ASIAN STOCK MARKETS: As at 4:05 GMT
Change on the day

Market             Current   Previous close  % move
Singapore          3126.03   3109.44         0.53
Bangkok            1638.26   1636.49         0.11
Jakarta            6082.838  6107.168        -0.40
Kuala Lumpur       1694.99   1696.34         -0.08
Ho Chi Minh        922.98    926.79          -0.41

Change on year

Market             Current   End prev yr     % move
Singapore          3126.03   3402.92         -8.14
Bangkok            1638.26   1753.71         -6.58
Manila             7367.85   8,558.42        -13.91
Jakarta            6082.838  6,355.65        -4.29
Kuala Lumpur       1694.99   1796.81         -5.67
Ho Chi Minh        922.98    984.24          -6.22