By Arundhati Dutta
Philippine stocks jumped nearly 5% on Friday amid last minute buying of blue-chip shares, while most other Southeast Asian markets closed up as several local economies are set to re-open after weeks under lockdown.
Markets in Southeast Asia largely ignored global concerns around a Sino-U.S. scuffle over Beijing tightening its control over Hong Kong, choosing to instead focus on easing mobility restrictions in the Philippines, Thailand and Indonesia.
In the Philippines, President Rodrigo Duterte eased one of the world's toughest curbs in its capital Manila.
Leading gains, the local benchmark closed up 4.8% with index heavyweights such as BDO UniBank Inc, SM Investments and Ayala Corp surging between 8.8% and 11% before the closing bell.
Thailand followed suit with announcements of shortened curfew hours and relaxed restrictions from next week - following which the benchmark recovered from a 1% drop earlier in the session to close up 0.4%.
Consumer Staples led the gains, with convenience store operator CP All adding 1.4%.
Along the same lines, Indonesian local media https://en.tempo.co/read/1347150/jokowi-advises-against-premature-opening-of-tourism-sector reported that plans were underway to impose "new normal" protocols across four provinces, including Jakarta.
The benchmark closed up 0.8%, with consumer discretionary and consumer staple stocks contributing to most of the gains.
Malaysian stocks ended up 1.1% and had their best month since July 2018.
Heavyweights Hartalega Holdings, Petronas Gas and Petronas Dagangan added between 9.4% and 12.6% for the day.
Shares in Vietnam jumped on real estate stocks, while Singapore, down 0.2%, was the sole loser in the region.
(Reporting by Arundhati Dutta; Editing by Shinjini Ganguli)