Most SE Asian stocks chase global markets higher as virus spread slows; Thailand surges 6%

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(April 7): Most Southeast Asian stock markets rose on Tuesday, tracking equities around the world, as sentiment was aided by coronavirus infections slowing in Europe and the United States, while Thailand surged more than 6% on rallying oil prices.

Hardest-hit Italy and Spain have started looking ahead to easing lockdowns after steady falls in coronavirus-related deaths, and there were tentative signs that the outbreak was flattening in New York - the worst hit area in the United States.

Japan's Nikkei jumped 2%, following Wall Street's 7% surge on Monday, while the pan-European STOXX 600 index rose more than 3%.

"Covid death tolls tapering in global hotspots, coupled with oil hopes from the potential reconciliation of Saudi and Russia, appear to be supporting interim sentiments," said analysts at Maybank, in a note.

"Upsides to risk-on moves may still be capped at some point, given that the eventual economic impact of the crisis is still expected to be massive even if contagion curves are successfully flattened."

At the forefront of the rally, Thailand's energy-heavy index rose 6.7% to hit a four week high. Energy sector leaders PTT Pcl and PTT Exploration and Production rose 7.8%% and 9.5%, respectively.

Oil rose amid hopes that the world's main oil producers including Saudi Arabia and Russia would cut output as the pandemic crushes demand.

Singaporean stocks closed 4% higher and hit their highest in three weeks. Heavyweight financials United Overseas Bank Ltd and DBS Group Holdings Ltd gained at least 3% each.

Singapore's central bank announced further measures to boost bank lending, including relaxing capital buffer and liquidity requirements for lenders, to cushion virus' impact.

Vietnamese shares extended their winning streak to a fifth straight session, with financials leading gains.

Philippine stocks jumped 1.4% and Malaysian shares climbed 2%.

On the downside, the Indonesian benchmark closed down 0.7% after the country reported the biggest daily rise in infections, prompting large sale social restrictions in the city of Jakarta.

Financials weighed on the index, with PT Bank Central Asia Tbk and PT Bank Mandiri (Persero) Tbk falling about 1.5% each.