Most SE Asian stocks rise ahead of China's growth data; Vietnam drops

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BENGALURU (April 16): Most Southeast Asian stock markets ended higher on Tuesday, with Indonesia leading the pack, as investors remained optimistic about a recovery in China's economy ahead of the country's first-quarter growth pace set to be released on Wednesday.

First-quarter economy growth in China, the region's largest trading partner, likely cooled to the weakest pace in at least 27 years, a Reuters poll showed, but a flurry of measures to boost domestic demand may have put a floor under slowing activity in March.

"With a sizeable 4 trillion Chinese yuan (US$596.42 billion) fiscal stimulus and a monetary easing policy that has created 40% credit growth in 1Q19 alone, we expect the Chinese economy to grow above the 6% lower boundary target set by the government," according to a note from ING.

Indonesian stocks led gains in the region with broad-based increase across the sectors as investors snapped up stocks ahead of the presidential elections on Wednesday.

President Joko Widodo is standing for re-election in a contest with ex-general Prabowo Subianto, in what is described as the world's biggest single-day election.

Bank Mandiri (Persero) Tbk Pt and Astra International Tbk Pt were the top boosts to the index rising 3.7% and 2%, respectively.

An index of the country's 45 most liquid stocks rose 1.1%.

Philippine stocks pared earlier gains to close 0.5% higher, snapping three consecutive sessions of losses, on the back of real estate and industrial stocks.

Philippines President Rodrigo Duterte on Monday signed a 3.7 trillion peso (US$71.5 billion) budget for this year, its largest ever, ending months of impasse that forced the Southeast Asian country to cuts its growth target.

Shares of SM Investments Corp gained 1.9%, while those in SM Prime Holdings Inc firmed 2.4%.

Meanwhile, the Vietnam index closed down 0.6% at its lowest closing level since March 27, dragged by real estate stocks.

Vinhomes JSC and Vincom Retail JSC dropped more than 2% each.

Thai market was closed for a holiday.

SOUTHEAST ASIAN STOCK MARKETS

Market                 Current   Previous close  % move
Singapore              3332.04   3325.86         0.19
Manila                 7826.46   7787.98         0.49
Jakarta                6481.541  6435.151        0.72
Kuala Lumpur           1629.46   1631.33         -0.11
Ho Chi Minh            977.17    982.9           -0.58

Change so far in 2019

Market                 Current   End 2018        % move
Singapore              3332.04   3068.76         8.58
Manila                 7826.46   7,466.02        4.83
Jakarta                6481.541  6,194.50        4.63
Kuala Lumpur           1629.46   1690.58         -3.62
Ho Chi Minh            977.17    892.54          9.48

(US$1 = 6.7067 Chinese yuan renminbi)