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Most end lower, Vietnam hits near two-month high

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02/12/2019 | 05:13am EDT
FILE PHOTO :Traders begin work on the first day of 2018 trading at the Philippine Stocks Exchange (PSE), as the benchmark index hits a new record high, in the financial district of Makati city, Metro Manila

(Reuters) - Most Southeast Asia stock markets closed lower on Tuesday, as South China Sea tensions were seen as casting a shadow on U.S.-China trade talk progress, while Vietnam rallied for the second straight session to its highest level in nearly two months.

Washington and Beijing will commence high-level trade talks this week to negotiate an end to their bitter trade dispute.

Despite positive responses from both sides, the sailing of two U.S. destroyers near the disputed South China Sea, and China's subsequent anger over the move appeared detrimental to negotiations.

The Indonesian index fell the most in the region, closing 1.1 percent lower in its worst session this year, weakened by a slump in financial and telecom stocks.

The country's biggest bank by market value, Bank Central Asia, shed 0.6 percent, whereas Telekom Indonesia lost 2.8 percent

The Philippine benchmark slipped 0.6 percent, dragged by consumer and industrial stocks. Meanwhile, the country's trade deficit narrowed in December as imports tumbled for the first time in a year.

The stock index has outperformed other exchanges in the region so far in 2019, gaining about 7.3 percent.

"We are mildly concerned about the surprise pullback in capital goods and raw materials. If this continues, this could show that recent aggressive tightening by the BSP (Bangko Sentral ng Pilipinas) is starting to bite into investment appetite, hampering the nascent investment-driven growth story that we have witnessed of late," ING said in a note.

Meanwhile, Vietnam benchmark rose for the second straight session and ended up 1.2 percent at its highest level since Dec. 17, with real estate and consumer stocks leading the gains.

Property developer Vingroup JSC scaled 4.9 percent, while Saigon Beer Alcohol Beverage Corp jumped 1.9 percent.

Vietnam was also chosen to host this month's summit between U.S. President Donald Trump and his North Korean counterpart Kim Jong Un.

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Change on the day

Market Current Previous close Pct Move

Singapore 3201.15 3206.27 -0.16

Bangkok 1642.49 1638 0.27

Manila 8009.92 8061.54 -0.64

Jakarta 6426.325 6495.002 -1.06

Kuala Lumpur 1687.41 1688.56 -0.07

Ho Chi Minh 937.54 926.1 1.24

Change on year

Market Current End 2018 Pct Move

Singapore 3201.15 3068.76 4.31

Bangkok 1642.49 1563.88 5.03

Manila 8009.92 7466.02 7.29

Jakarta 6426.325 6194.498 3.74

Kuala Lumpur 1687.41 1690.58 -0.19

Ho Chi Minh 937.54 892.54 5.04

(Reporting by Anushka Trivedi in Bengaluru; Editing by Rashmi Aich)

By Anushka Trivedi

Stocks mentioned in the article
ChangeLast1st jan.
DJ INDUSTRIAL -0.51% 26462.08 Delayed Quote.13.44%
NASDAQ 100 0.42% 7816.919048 Delayed Quote.22.98%
NASDAQ COMP. 0.21% 8118.682224 Delayed Quote.22.11%
S&P 500 -0.04% 2926.17 Delayed Quote.16.77%
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