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Southeast Asia stocks: Most end lower, Malaysia slips to near one month low

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01/13/2020 | 01:05pm EDT
Investors monitor share market prices in Kuala Lumpur, Malaysia

Most Southeast Asian stock markets settled lower on Monday, with Malaysian equities leading losses, as investors awaited more details on the Phase 1 Sino-U.S. trade deal due to be signed later this week.

China's commitments in the preliminary trade deal with the United States were not changed during a lengthy translation process, U.S. Treasury Secretary Steven Mnuchin said on Sunday.

"With most of the broad strokes of a rather limited deal already revealed, what markets will be watching for more closely will be the precise legal wording of the deal; in particular, pertaining to monitoring mechanisms on deal compliance," Mizuho Bank said in a note.

The deal is expected to be signed between U.S. President Donald Trump and China's Vice Premier Liu He on Jan. 15.

In Southeast Asia, Malaysian equities slipped to a near one-month low, with utilities and financial sectors losing the most.

Public Bank Bhd and Petronas Gas Bhd lost 1.6% and 1.4, respectively.

Meanwhile, the region's largest trading partner China is expected to post stronger export and import growth in December, a Reuters poll showed. However, analysts say the risks of re-escalation in trade tensions remain despite the preliminary deal.

Singapore equities ended 0.2% lower, with heavyweights Jardine Matheson Holdings Ltd and Singapore Telecommunications Ltd declining 0.4% and 1.5%, respectively.

Elsewhere, Thai stocks gained for a third straight session, with utilities and industrial firms gaining the most.

The country's parliament on Saturday passed a delayed draft budget bill for the 2020 fiscal year to boost Southeast Asia's second-largest economy, which is growing at its slowest pace in years.

Electricity generator Gulf Energy Development PCL rose 9.3%, while Airports of Thailand PCL added 1%.

Indonesian shares ended 0.3% higher, rising for a third consecutive session.

Indonesia's trade deficit is likely to have narrowed in December, following its largest trade gap in seven months in November, according to a Reuters poll.

Bank Rakyat Indonesia (Persero) and Unilever Indonesia gained 2.3% and 1.8%, respectively.

The Philippine stock exchange suspended trading after a volcano near its capital spewed a massive cloud of ash over Manila.

By Sameer Manekar

Stocks mentioned in the article
ChangeLast1st jan.
AIRPORTS OF THAILAND 1.22% 62 End-of-day quote.-16.50%
DRAFT INC. -1.11% 1153 End-of-day quote.0.00%
GULF ENERGY DEVELOPMENT 2.03% 37.75 End-of-day quote.13.70%
JARDINE MATHESON HOLDINGS LIMITED 0.37% 40.15 End-of-day quote.-27.79%
LETS HOLDINGS GROUP CO., LTD. 4.01% 12.45 End-of-day quote.106.13%
PETRONAS GAS 9.83% 19 End-of-day quote.14.32%
PT BANK RAKYAT INDONESIA (PERSERO) TBK 8.06% 2950 End-of-day quote.-32.95%
PT UNILEVER INDONESIA TBK -3.43% 7750 End-of-day quote.-7.74%
PUBLIC BANK -3.43% 14.66 End-of-day quote.-24.59%
SINGAPORE TELECOMMUNICATIONS LIMITED -1.19% 2.49 End-of-day quote.-25.00%
UNILEVER N.V. 0.56% 46.49 Delayed Quote.-9.25%
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