April 30, 2018 / 9:57 AM / in 7 months

SE Asia Stocks-Climb; Singapore hits highest close in 10-1/2 yrs

    * Singapore posts best month since Jan 2017 
    * Philippines posts highest close in 2 weeks
    * Asian shares ex-Japan climb 1 pct

    By Sumeet Gaikwad
    April 30 (Reuters) - Southeast Asian stock markets posted
strong gains on Monday as risk appetite picked up amid easing
geopolitical tensions on the Korean peninsula, with bank stocks
lifting Singapore to its highest close in 10-1/2 years.
    MSCI's broadest index of Asia-Pacific shares outside Japan
 climbed 1 percent, following a historic summit
between North Korean leader Kim Jong Un and South Korea's Moon
Jae-in last week at which they vowed "complete
denuclearization". The two countries also announced on Monday
initial steps toward reconciliation.
    Singapore shares marked a closing peak since November
2007, led by gains in financials. The index gained 5.4 percent
this month, its best since January 2017, after posting losses in
February and March this year.
    Lender DBS Group Holdings was the biggest
contributor to the benchmark, rising 2.8 percent to an all-time
closing high, after reporting a record profit earlier in the
day.
    Singapore's total bank lending rose 1.6 percent in March
from a month earlier as lending to financial institutions
increased, central bank data showed.
    The city-state's other big banks, United Overseas Bank Ltd
 and Oversea-Chinese Banking Corp, also
marked all-time closing highs.
    Philippine shares rose 1.3 percent to their highest
in two weeks, but still marked a 2 percent drop for April. 
    The session's gains were led by industrials, with
heavyweights SM Investments Corp climbing 3.3 percent
and while JG Summit Holdings rising 2.2 percent. 
    Philippine annual inflation in April is likely to settle
within a 3.9-4.7 percent range, reflecting higher oil and rice
prices and electricity rates, the central bank said.

    Indonesian shares closed 1.3 percent higher, but
posted a 3 percent drop on the month. 
    The country's index of 45 most liquid stocks was
up 1.4 percent, but fell 4.7 percent over the month.    
    Malaysian shares rose 0.4 percent on broad-based
gains, also ending the month 0.4 percent higher.
    The Thai stock market was a mixed bag as losses in
healthcare outpaced gains in real estate stocks. The benchmark
ended the month largely flat.
    Thailand's private consumption rose slightly in March from
the previous month but investment contracted, central bank
indexes showed, suggesting growth in Southeast Asia's
second-largest economy is not firm yet.
    Vietnam was closed for the day on account of a
holiday.
    Southeast Asian markets will be closed on Tuesday owing to
Labour Day.
            
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SOUTHEAST ASIAN STOCK MARKETS
      
 Change on day                             
 Market          Current   Previous Close  Pct Move
 Singapore       3613.93   3577.21         1.03
 Bangkok         1780.11   1778.02         0.12
 Manila          7819.25   7721.02         1.27
 Jakarta         5994.595  5919.238        1.27
 Kuala Lumpur    1870.37   1863.47         0.37
                                           
 Change on year                            
 Market          Current   End 2017        Pct Move
 Singapore       3613.93   3402.92         6.20
 Bangkok         1780.11   1753.71         1.51
 Manila          7819.25   8558.42         -8.64
 Jakarta         5994.595  6355.654        -5.68
 Kuala Lumpur    1870.37   1796.81         4.09
 Ho Chi Minh     1050.26   984.24          6.71
 
 (Reporting by Sumeet Gaikwad in Bengaluru; Editing by Amrutha
Gayathri)
  
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