By Arundhati Dutta
Philippine stocks gained for a seventh straight session on Thursday to close over 4% higher, with most other Southeast Asian markets also extending rallies, as easing lockdowns and expectations of government stimulus helped boost hopes of economic recovery.
As of Thursday, Philippine equities have added nearly 20% in the last seven days of trading and climbed 61.4% since hitting a near-decade low in March, while other regional indices have recovered between 25%-45% from their March troughs.
To cushion the blow from the COVID-19 pandemic, the Philippines' House of Representatives on Tuesday approved a multi-billion dollar stimulus package, which includes a budget for massive testing, according to a local media report https://newsinfo.inquirer.net/1284789/house-oks-p1-3-economic-stimulus-package-on-2nd-reading.
The benchmark index was lifted by industrial stocks, with top gainer GT Capital Holdings adding over 15%.
Thai shares gained for a fourth straight session to hit their highest close since late February, with investors looking past a bleak 2020 outlook projected by the central bank.
The country will also draw up a stimulus plan for domestic tourism to be rolled out for four months starting in July, a senior official said on Thursday.
Financials accounted for a fifth of the benchmark's gains, with top gainers Siam Commercial Bank and Kasikornbank surging around 15%, each.
Malaysian equities extended gains in their seventh session to hit the highest closing levels since Jan. 24, with top index gainer Hap Seng Consolidated surging 15.7%.
Shares in Singapore and Vietnam hit their highest close since early March.
Bucking the trend, Indonesia erased early gains and closed lower, snapping a six-day winning streak as a drop in oil prices drove the country's energy sector sharply lower. [O/R]
(Reporting by Arundhati Dutta; Editing by Ramakrishnan M.)