Most SE Asian stocks gain as hopes of trade deal, stimulus lift risk-on mode

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BENGALURU (Sept 11): Most Southeast Asian stock markets edged higher on Wednesday, with Singapore leading gains, as expectations of a breakthrough in the Sino-US trade dispute and more fiscal stimulus measures by major central banks lifted risk sentiment.     

The South China Morning Post reported that China might agree to buy more American agricultural products, hoping for a better deal with the United States.

However, a senior White House adviser tamped down expectations on Tuesday for the next round of US-China trade talks, urging investors, businesses and the public to be patient about resolving the trade dispute between the world's two largest economies.

Sentiment got a lift ahead of monetary policy decisions by the European central bank on Thursday and the US Federal Reserve next week, with investors hoping for further easing amid a slowdown in global growth.

Leading the region, Singapore stocks extended gains for a third session, underpinned by financial and real estate shares. Hongkong Land Holdings advanced 2.1%, while DBS Group Holdings hit its highest in more than a month.  

Real estate stocks got a boost after the Housing and Development Board (HDB) of Singapore enhanced the Central Provident Fund (CPF) housing grant to provide for affordable and accessible homes.

"STI is up because news has been incrementally more positive. The higher CPF grant and income ceiling will improve the HDB resale and upgraders market. This is supportive for the private residential mass market," Paul Chew, head of research at Phillip Securities Research said.

Meanwhile, Malaysian stocks traded relatively flat ahead of a monetary policy decision on Thursday, where the central bank is expected to keep its benchmark interest rate unchanged, according to a Reuters poll, as it keeps room for potential easing later should global growth fall sharply.

The country's industrial production index rose at its slowest pace in five years in July as mining output slowed, government data showed on Wednesday.

Thai stocks edged higher on broad-based gains, with Siam Commercial Bank climbing 1.3% and Kasikornbank rising 1.2%.

The Philippine index eked out modest gains as strength in consumer shares offset losses in financial stocks.

Bucking the trend, Vietnam stocks traded in the red.

Change on the day

Market                 Current   Previous close  % move
Singapore              3187.76   3155.71         1.02
Bangkok                1666.09   1665.93         0.01
Manila                 7943.42   7929.48         0.18
Jakarta                6337.866  6336.673        0.02
Kuala Lumpur           1597.08   1595.85         0.08
Ho Chi Minh            967.96    970.26          -0.24

Change so far in 2019

Market                 Current   End 2018        % move
Singapore              3187.76   3068.76         3.88
Bangkok                1666.09   1563.88         6.54
Manila                 7943.42   7,466.02        6.39
Jakarta                6337.866  6,194.50        2.31
Kuala Lumpur           1597.08   1690.58         -5.53
Ho Chi Minh            967.96    892.54          8.45