US STOCKS-Tech shares boost Nasdaq; energy stocks rebound
* Indexes: Dow down 0.05 pct, S&P up 0.13 pct, Nasdaq up 0.38 pct (Updates to late afternoon, adds commentary, changes byline)
By Sindhu Chandrasekaran April 7 Most Southeast Asian stock markets reversed course in the latter half of Friday to end higher after a U.S. defense official said the missile strike on Syria was a "one-off", meaning it was expected to be a single attack with no current plans for escalation. Most of the regional markets were trading lower earlier in the day after the United States fired cruise missiles at a Syrian air base. "Geopolitical tension has put some selling pressure on the regional markets," said Manny Cruz, an analyst with Manila-based Asiasec Equities Inc. The markets ended higher as investors took a breather after a U.S. official played down the risks of an escalation. However, Indonesia snapped four sessions of gains and ended 0.5 percent lower. Financials led the losses with PT Bank Mandiri (Persero) Tbk falling 1.8 percent. The index ended the week 1.5 percent higher, extending gains into a fourth week. The markets are also keeping an eye on the meeting between Donald Trump and Chinese leader Xi Jinping. "On the political front, Trump-Xi meeting is in focus. The main issue should be 1) North Korea, 2) Trades and 3) FX policies," J.P. Morgan said in a note, adding that as China has the "biggest trade imbalances with the U.S.," the focus is now on how the U.S. will address trade and FX policies. Philippine stocks rose as much as 1.4 percent to their highest in over five months. Gains in real estate stocks helped push up the index, which ended the week 3.7 percent higher. "There has been buying momentum (in the Philippines) from foreign investors which has pushed the index above the 7,700 barrier," Cruz said, adding that they have been selling relentlessly in the first quarter of the year due to a lot of political noise. The sentiment turned positive after the Philippines economic planning minister said on Thursday that the economy is expected to expand between 6.5 and 7 percent in the first quarter or sooner. Right now "we are looking forward to a GDP growth of near 7 pct as projected by the Philippines government", Cruz added. Vietnam shares ended 0.7 percent higher at their highest since February 2008. Utilities accounted for nearly half of the gains with Petrovietnam Gas Joint Stock Corp gaining 4.4 percent. Malaysia, Singapore and Thailand were up 0.1 percent each. For Asian Companies click; SOUTHEAST ASIAN STOCK MARKETS Change on the day Market Current previous Pct Move close Singapore 3177.27 3175.59 0.05 Bangkok 1583.53 1582.12 0.09 Manila 7583.75 7565.32 0.24 Jakarta 5653.486 5680.239 -0.47 Kuala Lumpur 1741.72 1739.56 0.12 Ho Chi Minh 727.95 723.22 0.65 Change on year Market Current End 2016 Pct Move Singapore 3177.27 2880.76 10.29 Bangkok 1583.53 1542.94 2.63 Manila 7583.75 6840.64 10.9 Jakarta 5653.486 5296.711 6.74 Kuala Lumpur 1741.72 1641.73 6.09 Ho Chi Minh 727.95 664.87 9.5 (Reporting by Sindhu Chandrasekaran; additional reporting by Swati Pandey; Editing by Vyas Mohan)
June 23 U.S. stocks were higher in early afternoon trading on Friday, with the Nasdaq set to post its first weekly gain in three weeks, helped by gains in technology stocks and a rebound in oil prices.