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Southeast Asia stocks - Philippines falls ahead of GDP data, Thailand gains

01/22/2019 | 11:21pm EDT
A stockbroker looks at the electronic board inside the Philippine Stock Exchange (PSE) in Makati city, metro Manila

(Reuters) - Philippines took the biggest hit among Southeast Asian stock indexes on Wednesday, falling more than 1 percent in a jittery market ahead of its GDP data release, while Thailand extended gains.

While global growth concerns continued to dampen investor sentiment in the region, a slew of expected economic data governed the movement of individual markets.

Industrial and financial stocks dragged the Philippine benchmark index <.PSI> 1.2 percent lower with shares of SM Investments Corp losing 1.6 percent and those of Aboitiz Equity Ventures Inc shedding 2.6 percent, ahead of the fourth-quarter GDP data expected on Thursday.

A Reuters poll expects the easing inflation to have lifted the Philippine economy's growth pace by 6.2 percent from a year earlier, marginally up from a three year low recorded in July-September.

However, uncertainty arising from global growth concerns stirring global markets over the past few days spurs doubts on the outcome of the data.

"The correction (in the index) is maybe because the investors are being more careful since we're seeing a lot of news especially about China and...a slowdown in terms of global economic growth. A lot of investors are waiting for the Philippine GDP data and they are afraid of what 2019 will look like," said Rachelle C Cruz, an analyst at AP Securities.

The Malaysian index <.KLSE>, on track to snap three sessions of gains, fell 1 percent, hurt by consumer cyclicals and material stocks ahead of its inflation data and key rate announcement at the central bank policy meeting.

The country's consumer price index (CPI), slated to be released on Thursday, is expected to rise 0.4 percent in December from a year earlier, according to a Reuters poll.

Meanwhile, another poll predicted that Malaysia's central bank will likely keep its benchmark overnight interest rate <MYINTR=ECI> unchanged at 3.25 percent at a policy review on Thursday.

Singapore's index <.STI> traded nearly flat as investors remained on the sidelines ahead of the inflation data expected later in the day.

The city-state's headline consumer price index (CPI) probably rose to 0.4 percent in December from a year earlier, a Reuters poll showed.

Meanwhile, the Thai index extended gains and rose 0.8 percent, buoyed by healthcare and financial stocks.

Shares of Bangkok Dusit Medical Services PCL extended gains rising 2.6 percent as investors remained optimistic regarding regulatory movements against the company not being as bad as they had initially thought.

(Reporting by Shreya Mariam Job in Bengaluru; Editing by Rashmi Aich)

By Shreya Mariam Job

© Reuters 2019
Stocks mentioned in the article
ChangeLast1st jan.
ABOITIZ EQUITY VENTURES, INC. -0.58% 42.65 End-of-day quote.-9.74%
BANGKOK DUSIT MEDICAL SERVICES 0.00%End-of-day quote.0.00%
SM INVESTMENTS CORPORATION -0.10% 999 End-of-day quote.-4.77%
SNAP INC. 1.41% 63.17 Delayed Quote.26.16%
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