Philippines sheds early gains on lacklustre GDP data

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(Aug 9): Philippine stock markets on Thursday erased early gains and declined 1.3% after data showed economic growth unexpectedly slipped to near three-year lows, while most other Southeast Asian stocks rose in line with broader Asian peers.

Philippine economic growth slowed sharply to 6% in the second quarter from a year earlier, the statistics agency said on Thursday, and the growth rate came in below the 6.7% forecast in a Reuters poll.

Investors took a cautious stance ahead of an expected interest rate hike at the central bank meeting later in the day.

"When there is an increase in rates, it will slow down the growth of the economy," said Paolo Ayson, an analyst at Manila-based RCBC Securities, adding, "GDP data missing expectations might make it harder (for the central bank) to raise interest rates."

Philippine shares were dragged by real estate stocks, with SM Prime Holdings sliding as much as 2.1%, while Ayala Land slipped up to 2.5%.   

Malaysian stocks hit their highest in over two months, with the utilities sector being the biggest boost. Shares of Tenaga Nasional Bhd nudged 1.2% higher.

Indonesian stocks traded steady as gains in consumer and energy stocks outpaced losses in financials.

United Tractors gained as much as 1.3%, while Bank Negara Indonesia slipped up to 1.2%.

Vietnam shares held a firmer tone, hitting their highest in six weeks. Vietnam's largest brewer Sabeco, formally known as Saigon Beer Alcohol Beverage Corp, boosted the index with a jump of 3.5%.

Thai shares rose to an eight-week high, with banks Siam Commercial Bank and Kasikornbank gaining 1.4% each. The bourse was in line for a third straight session of gains.

MSCI's broadest index of Asia-Pacific shares outside Japan rose 0.5% after edging lower in early trade.

Singapore was closed for a holiday.

SOUTHEAST ASIAN STOCK MARKETS AS AT 0416 GMT

Market          Current   Previous close  % move
Bangkok         1725.03   1721.64         0.20
Manila          7779.03   7851.46         -0.92
Jakarta         6096.839  6094.829        0.03
Kuala Lumpur    1809.88   1804.73         0.29
Ho Chi Minh     970.17    966.27          0.40

Change on year

Market          Current   End 2017        % move
Bangkok         1725.03   1753.71         -1.64
Manila          7779.03   8558.42         -9.11
Jakarta         6096.839  6355.654        -4.07
Kuala Lumpur    1809.88   1796.81         0.73
Ho Chi Minh     970.17    984.24          -1.43