SE Asia Stocks-Tepid as virus anxiety weighs; Thailand rises on energy stocks

By Arundhati Dutta

Feb 14 (Reuters) Southeast Asian stock markets were subdued on Friday as renewed doubts about the scale of coronavirus outbreak spooked investors, while the Thai index rose with its prominent energy sector gaining as oil prices extended their week-old recovery.

Financial markets have hinged on virus headlines through the week and rallied at any sign of infections easing.

Officials in Hubei province – the epicentre of the outbreak – shocked markets on Thursday by announcing a sharp increase in new infections and deaths from the coronavirus, reflecting the adoption of a new method to diagnose the illness.

The province on Friday reported 4,823 new cases, well above the levels seen earlier this month, but the daily death toll and number of infections were down sharply from the previous day.

“The main catalyst for the case for higher equities remains the promise of global stimulus, but if China’s weakness extends to the second quarter, risk appetite will have trouble driving risky assets higher, ” Edward Moya, analyst at OANDA wrote in a note.

Central banks of Singapore and Malaysia have hinted at policy easing in the future, while Thailand recently cut its benchmark interest rate to a record low.

Leading declines, the Philippine index .PSI dropped as much as 0.7%, dented by losses in conglomerates Ayala Land ALI.PS and SM Investments SM.PS.

The energy-heavy Thai index .SETI was lifted by oil prices, which were set for their first weekly gain in six. Petroleum producers PTT Pcl PTT.BK and PTT Exploration and Production Pcl PTTEP.BK advanced 0.6% and 1.2%, respectively. O/R

Indonesian equities .JKSE edged a tick higher, but were set to log losses for the week. The benchmark index was supported by consumer stocks, with food distributor PT Indofood Sukses Makmur Tbk INDF.JK adding up to 1.4%

Singaporean stocks .STI were subdued, but poised for their biggest weekly gain in over three months. Index heavyweights Jardine Strategic Holdings JSH.SI and Jardine Matheson Holdings JARD.SI advanced up to 1.9% and 1.3%, respectively.

Vietnamese shares .VNI were little changed.

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SOUTHEAST ASIAN STOCK MARKETS AS AT 0414 GMT

STOCK MARKETS

Change on the day

Market

Current

Previous close

Pct Move

Singapore

3224.82

3220.09

0.15

Bangkok

1537.2

1532.77

0.29

Manila

7376.53

7403.12

-0.36

Jakarta

5874.259

5871.954

0.04

Kuala Lumpur

1537.82

1539.16

-0.09

Ho Chi Minh

937.98

938.24

-0.03

Change so far in 2020

Market

Current

End 2019

Pct Move

Singapore

3224.82

3222.83

0.06

Bangkok

1537.2

1579.84

-2.70

Manila

7376.53

7,815.26

-5.61

Jakarta

5874.259

6,299.54

-6.75

Kuala Lumpur

1537.82

1588.76

-3.21

Ho Chi Minh

937.98

960.99

-2.39

(Reporting by Arundhati Dutta; Editing by Sherry Jacob-Phillips)

((arundhati.dutta@thomsonreuters.com;))

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