Singapore trims losses on trade optimism; Philippines falls most

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SE Asia Stocks:

SINGAPORE/ PHILIPPINE

Singaporean shares pared early losses and ended flat on Thursday, looking past a surprise fall in November manufacturing activity as lingering optimism around the “phase one” of U.S.-China trade deal raised hopes of a turnaround in the sector.

Meanwhile, the Philippine bourse led losses in the region weighed down by blue chip stocks, as trading in most Southeast Asian equity markets remained subdued on account of the year-end holidays.

Singapore’s benchmark index recovered from its losses earlier in the session to finish nearly flat, shrugging off a 9.3% fall in its manufacturing activity in November from a year earlier, marking its biggest drop in four years.

We are cautiously optimistic that global macro stabilization anchored by expected completion of the U.S.-China “Phase 1” trade deal could lead to improvement in global economic backdrop for next year, which could give Singapore’s manufacturing and export sectors the necessary boost for 2020, UOB said in a note.

U.S. President Donald Trump said on Tuesday that there will be a signing ceremony with Chinese President Xi Jinping for the U.S.-China Phase 1 trade deal agreed to this month.

Industrial conglomerate Jardine Matheson Holdings gained 0.9%, while Hongkong Land Holdings lost 0.9%. The Philippine bourse trimmed its losses from earlier in the session to finish 0.4% lower.

Heavyweights Ayala Land and SM Investments Corp lost 1.8% and 2%, respectively, while Ayala Corp gained 2.7%. The index had gained nearly 3% over its previous two trading sessions. Thai stocks rose on the back of industrial and energy sectors, posting its second consecutive session of gains.

Heavyweights Airports of Thailand and PTT PCL were among the top performers, adding 1% and 0.6%, respectively.

Indonesian shares were lifted by gains in the consumer and financial firms, with Unilever Indonesia and Bank Central Asia rising 1.9% and 0.3%, respectively.

Malaysia’s benchmark index edged lower, while Vietnam stocks lost 0.2%, dragged by heavy losses in financials.

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