Largely down on fresh Trump worries; Vietnam hits 9-yr high

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(March 22): Most Southeast Asian stock markets fell on Wednesday, taking cues from a selloff on Wall Street as investors are increasingly worried that U.S. President Donald Trump will struggle to deliver promised pro-growth policies, including financial deregulation.

Investors see the Trump administration's struggles to push through the healthcare overhaul, as a sign that he may also face setbacks delivering promised corporate tax cuts.

"Everything is down with the surprise 200 point drop in America," said Joseph Roxas, president of Manila-based Eagle Equities Inc, adding that the U.S. market was "really overbought" and due for a "big correction". 

"Everything will be down for today, probably not to the same degree as the United States. We will probably recover faster. My feeling is that emerging-market stocks will gather more interest in the meantime or going forward."

MSCI's broadest index of Asia-Pacific shares outside Japan  fell as much as 1.5%, in its biggest intraday percentage fall since Dec 15, 2016.

In the United States, the Dow Jones Industrial Average ended 1.1% lower, while the S&P 500 lost 1.2%.

Singapore shares fell as much as 1.3% and wereheaded for a third straight session of declines, with losses being broad-based.

Yangzijiang Shipbuilding declined by 3.5%, making it the biggest loser on the index, while Sembcorp Industries Ltd dropped 2.2%.

Philippine shares fell up to 1.2%, dragged down by financial and consumer stocks with property developer Ayala Land Inc shedding 2.5% and SM Investments Corp declining 1.4%.

Thailand shares recovered from early falls to trade 0.3% lower. 

The country's customs-cleared exports data contracted, but the drop was smaller than expected and the government was still optimistic about the trade outlook.

Bucking the trend, Vietnam gained as much as 0.6% to its highest in over nine years.

Gains were led by financials and consumer staples, with Joint Stock Commercial Bank for Foreign Trade of Viet Nam gaining 0.5%.

Change at 0412 GMT

Market Current Previous Close Pct Move
Singapore 3121.65 3158.57 -1.17
Bangkok 1564.85 1568.78 -0.25
Manila 7237.79 7323.31 -1.17
Jakarta 5507.595 5543.093 -0.64
Kuala Lumpur 1739.38 1754.67 -0.87
Ho Chi Minh 719.84 716.18 0.51

Change on year

Market Current End 2016 Pct Move
Singapore 3121.65 2880.76 8.36
Bangkok 1564.85 1542.94 1.42
Manila 7237.79 6840.64 5.8
Jakarta 5507.595 5296.711 3.98
Kuala Lumpur 1739.38 1641.73 5.95
Ho Chi Minh 719.84 664.87 8.3