Malaysia falls on Axiata; most others tick up

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BENGALURU (Sept 10): Malaysian stocks fell on Tuesday, dragged by telecom giant Axiata after talks with Norway's Telenor to create a joint venture collapsed, while most other Southeast Asian markets edged up in anticipation of monetary easing by major global central banks.

Malaysia was the top loser in the region with a drop of 0.7%. The market was closed on Monday for a holiday.

Axiata Group Bhd slumped as much as 17.8% to an over four-month low after the company and Norway's Telenor ended talks to create a telecoms joint venture with nearly 300 million customers across South Asia and Southeast Asia.

"This removes the prospect for US$5 billion of potential deal synergies," brokerage Jefferies said in a research note.

Axiata also said it was considering the monetisation of its tower business, Edotco, through an initial public offering or other means, looking for consolidation in countries such as Indonesia and Bangladesh.

Shares of Telenor's Malaysian subsidiary, Digi.com Bhd, plunged as much as 12.1%, their biggest intraday drop in nearly nine years.

Philippine stocks traded lower after four straight sessions of gains, following poor trade data. Trade deficit widened to US$3.39 billion in July from US$2.47 billion in the previous month.

Financial were among the top losers with SM Prime Holdings Inc shedding 1.1%, while Bank of the Philippine Islands shed 0.9%.

Meanwhile, other equity markets in the region traded in positive territory as investors remained cautiously optimistic ahead of policy decisions from the European Central Bank and the US Federal Reserve.

"The summer of monetary love after Thursday's meeting may quickly fade to winter if Europe's economy continues to slow, inflation remains non-existent, and Europe's governments insist on keeping their heads in the fiscal sand," Jeffrey Halley, senior market analyst, Asia Pacific at OANDA, said in a note.

Singapore stocks gained 0.3%, driven by industrials. Jardine Matheson Holdings Ltd gained 1.4%, while Jardine Strategic Holdings rose 1.7%.    

Thai shares climbed on financial and energy stocks. PTT PCL gained 0.6%, while Kasikornbank PCL gained 1.9% a day prior to the stock going ex-dividend.

Vietnam shares inched higher, aided by financials. Joint Stock Commercial Bank for investment and Joint Stock Commercial Bank for Foreign Trade of Viet Nam gained 1.8% and 0.9%, respectively.     

SOUTHEAST ASIAN STOCK MARKETS: 0355 GMT
Change on the day

Market                 Current   Previous close  % move
Singapore              3156.62   3146.33         0.33
Bangkok                1673.71   1671.22         0.15
Manila                 7908.28   7960.12         -0.65
Jakarta                6333.817  6326.213        0.12
Kuala Lumpur           1593.44   1604.47         -0.69
Ho Chi Minh            975.46    974.12          0.14

Change so far in 2019

Market                 Current   End 2018        % move
Singapore              3156.62   3068.76         2.86
Bangkok                1673.71   1563.88         7.02
Manila                 7908.28   7,466.02        5.92
Jakarta                6333.817  6,194.50        2.25
Kuala Lumpur           1593.44   1690.58         -5.75
Ho Chi Minh            975.46    892.54          9.29