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Southeast Asia stocks: Most rise on Sino-U.S. trade deal optimism

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01/13/2020 | 11:31pm EDT
People pass a Singapore Exchange sign outside its premises at the central business district in Singapore

Most Southeast Asian stock markets rose on Tuesday, tracking overnight gains on Wall Street, as risk appetite was whetted by optimism about the imminent signing of a preliminary U.S.-China trade agreement.

Major U.S. indexes closed at record highs on Monday, while MSCI's world shares gauge <.MIWD00000PUS> scaled an all-time peak on Tuesday, boosted by the trade deal optimism. [.N] [MKTS/GLOB]

Giving more details about the trade deal document, U.S. Trade Representative Robert Lighthizer said on Monday the language translation was almost completed and would be made public on Wednesday, just prior to the signing ceremony.

Aiding sentiment further, the U.S. Treasury Department on Monday dropped China's designation as a currency manipulator, seen widely as a symbol of goodwill for Chinese officials.

"Asia markets are expected to sing to the cheer on Wall Street with the alleviation of U.S.-China trade tensions carrying this week," IG Asia said in a note.

Meanwhile, customs data showed exports from the region's largest trading partner, China, increased 7.6% in December from a year earlier, their first rise since July 2019, while imports were up 16.3%.

In Southeast Asia, trade-sensitive Singapore shares advanced as much 0.3%, with DBS Group Holdings and Jardine Matheson Holdings rising 0.6% and 1.4%, respectively.

Indonesian shares hit a near two-week high and were on track to post their fourth consecutive session of gains. Financials and consumer firms climbed, with Bank Central Asia and Unilever Indonesia adding 0.6% and 0.7%, respectively.

Thai stocks advanced for a fourth consecutive session, driven by consumer and industrial firms.

"Even though much of the trade optimism appears to have already been baked in, global markets still await the official signing of the U.S.-China Phase 1 trade accord and concrete details of the trade agreement," PhillipCapital said in a note.

Philippine shares fell as markets resumed trade after being suspended on Monday as a volcano belched clouds of ash across Manila and seismologists warned an eruption could happen at any time.

Heavyweights SM Investments Corp and SM Prime Holdings shed 1.3% and 3.3%, respectively.

Malaysian shares shed as much as 0.5%, dragged by financials and consumer firms.

Sime Darby Plantation lost 1.3%, while Kuala Lumpur Kepong was down 0.5%. [POI/]

(This story corrects milestone in first bullet and paragraph 6 to note China exports rose for first time since July 2019, not March 2019)

By Sameer Manekar

Stocks mentioned in the article
ChangeLast1st jan.
DBS GROUP HOLDINGS LTD 1.03% 19.64 End-of-day quote.-24.11%
JARDINE MATHESON HOLDINGS LIMITED 0.28% 40 End-of-day quote.-28.06%
KUALA LUMPUR KEPONG 0.73% 22 End-of-day quote.-11.29%
LETS HOLDINGS GROUP CO., LTD. 10.02% 11.97 End-of-day quote.98.18%
MSCI AC WORLD INDEX (STRD, UHD) 0.96% 506.976 Real-time Quote.-11.16%
PT BANK CENTRAL ASIA TBK 6.65% 26475 End-of-day quote.-20.79%
PT UNILEVER INDONESIA TBK -2.13% 8025 End-of-day quote.-4.46%
SIME DARBY PLANTATION 0.20% 5.01 End-of-day quote.-8.07%
SM INVESTMENTS CORPORATION -0.12% 836 End-of-day quote.-19.85%
SM PRIME HOLDINGS, INC. -1.01% 29.5 End-of-day quote.-29.93%
UNILEVER N.V. 2.35% 46.23 Delayed Quote.-11.83%
WORLD CO., LTD. 4.87% 1616 End-of-day quote.-39.95%
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