By Pranav A K
Most Southeast Asian stock markets rose on Thursday as hopes of a rebound in economic activity were boosted by countries easing coronavirus-induced restrictions and expectations of stimulus measures from China, the region's biggest trading partner.
China is expected to announce measures to boost the world's second largest economy at its annual parliament session on Friday, even as leaders grapple with problems from surging unemployment to worsening U.S. ties.
"This event (National People's Congress) is garnering the lion's share of attention," said Stephen Innes, chief market strategist at financial services firm AxiCorp.
"Still, the market remains positioned for a significant policy monetary and fiscal response from Chinese leaders."
Australia and New Zealand announced a raft of plans to restart public life, while states across the U.S. loosened restrictions.
Malaysian stocks led gains with a 1.2% rise, its highest level since March 9. The index notched a seven-day winning streak.
Top Glove Corp Bhd, the world's biggest medical gloves maker, rose as much as 12.6% to hit a record high during the session, while heavyweight Petronas Gas was the top boost, surging 12.8%.
Vietnam shares rose 1.2% and closed at its highest level since March 9, boosted by financial and real-estate stocks. Lender Ho Chi Minh City Development Joint Stock Commercial Bank climbed 6.8%.
Thailand's index reversed course to close slightly lower, pressured by Industrial and consumer staple stocks.
Airports of Thailand shed 1.3% and Home Product Centre PCL dropped 2.7%.
Singapore's index closed 0.3% lower after wavering between gains and losses through the session.
Indonesian stock markets were closed for a holiday.
(Reporting by A K Pranav in Bengaluru; Editing by Amy Caren Daniel)