Most SE Asian stocks end lower on trade deal uncertainty

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BENGALURU (Oct 15): Most Southeast Asian stock markets ended lower on Tuesday, with Philippines falling the most, as optimism over a Sino-US trade deal faded after Chinese demanded further talks, while investors also sought more details on the partial deal struck last week.

China wants more talks before the end of October to hammer out the details of US President Donald Trump's proposed deal before Chinese President Xi Jinping signs it, Bloomberg reported on Monday.

Markets around the globe had earlier cheered reports of a "Phase 1" trade deal between the United States and China, however a dearth of details around the agreement has curbed enthusiasm.

"The Asia-Pacific Economic Cooperation meeting next month, where Trump and Xi will be meeting, will be a key event to watch out for," Joel Ng, an analyst at KGI Securities said.

"If they don't have a deal, then it is likely that December 15 tariffs come into effect, and that will be really negative for the markets."

The long-drawn Sino-US trade war has largely weighed on Southeast Asian economies, which count China as their top trade partner.

Philippine stocks snapped a three-day winning streak to post its worst session in nearly a week, as weakness in financial and consumer sectors weighed.

Index heavyweight SM Prime Holdings and SM Investments Corp were among the biggest drags on the Manila index, shedding 2.8% and 1.5% each.

Singapore's Straits Times index declined 0.3%, dragged by financials and industrial firms.

Capitaland Mall Trust and Singapore Technologies Engineering lost 1.1% and 1.2%, respectively.

Malaysian stocks edged lower after three consecutive sessions of gains. Mobile communication service provider Digi.com Bhd and IHH Healthcare slipped 1.9% and 2.4% each.

Bucking the trend, Indonesian stocks advanced 0.5%, buoyed by materials and consumer staples firms.

Data released earlier in the day showed that Southeast Asia's largest economy swung back to a trade deficit in September as the pace of the decline in imports was slower than expected.

"With Indonesia's inflation within the target (3.39% in September) and growth momentum constrained, we expect the central bank to consider cutting policy rates further to give the economy an added boost," ING said in a note.

Pulp and paper products maker PT Indah Kiat Pulp & Paper and tobacco firm PT Japfa Comfeed Indonesia jumped 11.6% and 1.9%, respectively.

SOUTHEAST ASIAN STOCK MARKETS
Change on the day

Market                 Current   Previous close  % move
Singapore              3116.17   3124.45         -0.27
Bangkok                1627.01   1626            0.06
Manila                 7840.31   7884.29         -0.56
Jakarta                6158.166  6126.877        0.51
Kuala Lumpur           1566.23   1567.59         -0.09
Ho Chi Minh            993.05    993.57          -0.05

Change so far in 2019

Market                 Current   End 2018        % move
Singapore              3116.17   3068.76         1.54
Bangkok                1627.01   1563.88         4.04
Manila                 7840.31   7,466.02        5.01
Jakarta                6158.166  6,194.50        -0.59
Kuala Lumpur           1566.23   1690.58         -7.36
Ho Chi Minh            993.05    892.54          11.26