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Southeast Asia stocks: Most subdued ahead of holidays, Philippines gains 1%

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01/23/2020 | 12:46am EDT
A man passes a Singapore Exchange (SGX) sign at the central business district in Singapore

Philippine stocks <.PSI> rose over 1% on Thursday as investors picked up beaten down names, while most markets in the region were subdued ahead of Lunar New Year holidays and the evolving situation over the coronavirus outbreak in China - the region's largest trading partner.

Philippine stocks saw their best day in almost three weeks after falling over 2% so far this week.

"I would look into the performance over the last few days, which is mostly weak, so today's bounce back mostly looks like bargain hunting from investors," said Charles William Ang, associate analyst at COL Financial Group.

Gains in financial and consumer sectors helped prop up Philippines. Real estate developer Ayala Land advanced 2.3%, while packaged food producer Universal Robina Corp rose 1.2%.

The Philippine central bank said gross domestic product (GDP) growth of 7% was attainable for 2020, while data showed December quarter GDP up 6.4% year-on-year.

Other markets in southeast Asia were subdued as the death toll from the coronavirus rose to 17, while the World Health Organization (WHO) said it will decide on Thursday whether to declare a global emergency over the outbreak.

Malaysian shares were lower, hurt by losses in the healthcare and consumer sectors.

Latex glove manufacturer Hartalega Holdings fell 1.7%, while plantation co Kuala Lumpur Kepong lost 1.2%.

Indonesian stocks edged slightly higher, helped by gains in consumer stocks and ahead of a central bank policy meeting later in the day.

A Reuters poll showed Bank Indonesia was likely to hold rates, while the central bank governor has promised to continue on a "accommodative monetary policy".

A surprise rate cut by Malaysia's central bank yesterday might "give Bank Indonesia additional confidence to lower its policy rate," Mizuho Bank said in a note to clients.

The Vietnam bourse was closed for a public holiday.

By Soumyajit Saha

Stocks mentioned in the article
ChangeLast1st jan.
AT HOME GROUP INC. -3.83% 21.85 Delayed Quote.297.27%
AYALA LAND, INC. 1.33% 34.4 End-of-day quote.-24.40%
BEST INC. 3.13% 2.97 Delayed Quote.-46.58%
HARTALEGA HOLDINGS 2.08% 17.68 End-of-day quote.222.63%
JUST GROUP PLC -2.83% 45.32 Delayed Quote.-42.63%
KUALA LUMPUR KEPONG 5.14% 22.5 End-of-day quote.-9.27%
LAND CO., LTD. 0.00% 9 End-of-day quote.-25.00%
LETS HOLDINGS GROUP CO., LTD. -2.43% 8.82 End-of-day quote.46.03%
LINE CORPORATION -0.19% 5360 End-of-day quote.0.19%
LOOK HOLDINGS INCORPORATED 1.44% 984 End-of-day quote.-21.41%
THE GLOBAL LTD. 3.70% 224 End-of-day quote.-52.44%
UNIVERSAL ROBINA CORPORATION -0.71% 140.7 End-of-day quote.-2.97%
WILL GROUP, INC. -0.59% 847 End-of-day quote.-32.35%
WORLD CO., LTD. -0.07% 1396 End-of-day quote.-48.12%
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