Philippine shares shed early gains; most others subdued

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(Jan 28): Philippine shares ended flat on Monday, retreating from an over 10-month high hit earlier in the session, as investors booked profits ahead of US-China trade talks and Federal Reserve meeting later this week.

Philippine shares have outperformed regional peers so far this year, gaining about 7.9%, helped by cooling inflation, a dovish Fed and hopes of an ease in the country's central bank monetary policy.

Investors now await resolution of US-China trade negotiations as attention shifts to Chinese Vice Premier Liu He's visit to the United States on Jan 30-31 for the next round of talks.

"An open and constructive dialogue is expected, given low-hanging fruits on trade deficit reduction. But a comprehensive deal will elude," said Vishnu Varathan, Head, Economics & Strategy at Mizuho Bank in Singapore, in a note.

Most investors are cautious and therefore "we are seeing profit-taking activity", said Rachelle Cruz, a research analyst at AP Securities in Manila.

The Fed is expected to leave interest rates unchanged after raising them for a fifth time in as many quarters in December.

Markets in Singapore, Indonesia and Malaysia fell as the region's biggest trade partner, China, echoed signs of a slowing global economy after data showed earnings at China's industrial firms shrank for a second straight month in December.

Indonesian shares fell 0.4%, hurt by losses in telecommunication services and financials.

Unilever Indonesia and Bank Mandiri (Persero) were the biggest drag, falling over 2.5% each.

The country's index of 45 most liquid stocks fell about 0.7%.

Malaysian shares slipped 0.2%, as Genting Bhd lost 1%, while Malaysia Airports Holdings fell 1.8%.

Meanwhile, Thai shares rose about 0.1% to close higher for a ninth straight session.

Change on the day

Market                 Current   Previous close  % move
Singapore              3199.5    3202.25         -0.09
Bangkok                1625.03   1623.62         0.09
Manila                 8053.92   8053.2          0.01
Jakarta                6458.712  6482.843        -0.37
Kuala Lumpur           1697.5    1701.03         -0.21
Ho Chi Minh            912.18    908.88          0.36

Change so far in 2019

Market                 Current   End 2018        % move
Singapore              3199.5    3068.76         4.26
Bangkok                1625.03   1563.88         3.91
Manila                 8053.92   7,466.02        7.87
Jakarta                6458.712  6,194.50        4.27
Kuala Lumpur           1697.5    1690.58         0.41
Ho Chi Minh            912.18    892.54          2.20