Most SE Asian stocks rise after US govt reopens; Philippines climbs 1%

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(Jan 28): Most Southeast Asian stock markets rose on Monday, with Philippines hitting a more than 10-month high, as investors cheered an agreement to briefly end a historic US government shutdown that had rattled risk-sensitive assets.

Philippine shares led the gains in Southeast Asia with a jump of 1% after US President Donald Trump agreed on Friday to reopen the government after a 35-day partial shutdown without getting the US$5.7 billion he had demanded from Congress for a border wall.

The news also pushed broader Asian shares higher, with MSCI's broadest index of Asia-Pacific shares outside Japan climbing 0.2%.

However, Washington's move to end the longest US government shutdown may only be temporary, after Trump renewed his vow to build a wall on the southern border with Mexico, threatening to resume the shutdown on Feb 15 if he does not get what he wants.

Markets, which are already grappling with heightened concerns about slowing global growth and the still unresolved Sino-US trade war, could see volatility again if the shutdown resumes.

Industrials and financials were among the top gainers in the Philippines, with conglomerate Aboitiz Equity Ventures Inc and real estate heavyweight SM Investments Corp climbing as much as 5.1% and 1.2%, respectively.

One of the biggest factors for the gains in the Philippine market is the quarterly GDP data, which was released last Thursday, said Rachelle Cruz, a research analyst with AP Securities.

Investors expect the country's central bank to ease monetary policies after data showed the economy grew slower than expected in the fourth quarter of 2018.

"The central bank announced its intention to increase liquidity in the system by reserve ratio cut," said Cruz.

"We are expecting another 2% cut for the reserve ratio this year, which will flood the market with almost 200 billion pesos."

Singapore shares rose as much as 0.5%, driven by technology and financials stocks.

The FTSE Strait Times index was headed for a third straight session of gains, ahead of corporate results by many big companies.

Venture Corp climbed as much as 2.3%, while Oversea-Chinese Banking Corp gained up to 1.3%.

Thai shares were on track for a ninth straight session of gains, helped by industrial and energy stocks. Bangkok Expressway and Metro PCL gained as much as 1%, while Energy Absolute climbed up to 1.6%.   

SOUTHEAST ASIAN STOCK MARKETS AT 0350 GMT

Market                 Current   Previous close  % move
Singapore              3207.08   3202.25         0.15
Bangkok                1628.91   1623.62         0.33
Manila                 8127.7    8053.2          0.93
Jakarta                6484.887  6482.843        0.03
Kuala Lumpur           1698.06   1701.03         -0.17
Ho Chi Minh            911.11    908.88          0.25

Change so far in 2019

Market                 Current   End 2018        % move
Singapore              3207.08   3068.76         4.51
Bangkok                1628.91   1563.88         4.16
Manila                 8127.7    7,466.02        8.86
Jakarta                6484.887  6,194.50        4.69
Kuala Lumpur           1698.06   1690.58         0.44
Ho Chi Minh            911.11    892.54          2.08