On the upside, the Singapore benchmark index <.STI> bucked the weak trend to close 1.2 percent higher, as investors shrugged off worse-than-expected November export data and went bargain hunting after Friday's losses.
"It looks like bargain-hunting, as valuations are at attractive levels," said Joel Ng, an analyst at KGI Securities, pointing to a 20-30 percent fall in Singaporean stocks over the past six months.
Earlier in the day, data showed that the country's exports fell for the first time in eight months on a year-on-year basis in November, with shipments to China, it's biggest market, continuing their slowdown.
Meanwhile, the Indonesia index <.JKSE> closed 1.3 percent lower, extending losses, after the country posted its widest monthly trade deficit in over five years in November.
Southeast Asia's largest economy saw exports of palm oil and pulp slump, while November imports stood at $16.88 billion, up 11.68 percent from a year earlier.
Consumer stocks led losses with household products maker PT Unilever Indonesia Tbk's counter falling 2.3 percent and that of cigarette maker PT Gudang Garam Tbk slipping 2 percent.
The Vietnam index <.VNI> was the worst performer in the region, tumbling 1.9 percent, with all major sectors in the red.
Financials underpinned losses, with shares of Joint Stock Commercial Bank for Foreign Trade of Vietnam (Vietcombank) falling 3 percent, and those in Vietnam Technological And Commercial Joint Stock Bank down 4.4 percent.
Thailand's benchmark index erased initial gains to close 0.5 percent down — its lowest since July 6 — with financial stocks, including those of Siam Commercial Bank PCL and Bank of Ayudhya PCL falling 2.5 percent and 1.9 percent, respectively.
Meanwhile, Thailand's central bank is expected to hike its key interest rate on Wednesday from near-record lows for the first time in more than seven years, a Reuters poll survey showed.
The Malaysian index <.KLSE> finished 1.2 percent lower, with shares of palm oil producer Sime Darby Plantation Berhad down 2.9 percent, while those of oil and gas services provider Dialog Group Berhad closing 2.2 percent lower.
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SOUTHEAST ASIAN STOCK MARKETS
Change on the day
Market Current Previous close Pct Move
Singapore 3114.25 3077.09 1.21
Bangkok 1601.48 1609.45 -0.50
Manila 7520.4 7524.37 -0.05
Jakarta 6089.305 6169.843 -1.31
Kuala Lumpur 1641.62 1661.96 -1.22
Ho Chi Minh 933.65 952.04 -1.93
Change on year
Market Current End prev yr Pct Move
Singapore 3114.25 3402.92 -8.48
Bangkok 1601.48 1753.71 -8.68
Manila 7520.4 8,558.42 -12.13
Jakarta 6089.305 6,355.65 -4.19
Kuala Lumpur 1641.62 1796.81 -8.64
Ho Chi Minh 933.65 984.24 -5.14
(Reporting by Rashmi Ashok in Bengaluru; Editing by Rashmi Aich)
By Rashmi Ashok