April 13, 2018 / 4:44 AM / 11 days ago

SE Asia Stocks-Singapore gains after cbank's first tightening in 6 yrs

    * Singapore shares hit 3-wk high 
    * Philippine shares fall sharply
    * Malaysia set to snap 6-session winning run

    By Nicole Pinto
    April 13 (Reuters) - Singapore shares rose on Friday after
its central bank tightened monetary policy for the first time in
six years saying its economy is expected to continue growing
steadily, while most other Southeast Asian stock markets
slipped.
    The Monetary Authority of Singapore (MAS) said it would
slightly increase the slope of the Singapore dollar's (SGD)
policy band from zero percent previously, while keeping the
width and mid-point of the band unchanged.
    The policy tightening was in line with expectations, and
came as official data showed the city-state's economy expanding
4.3 percent in the first quarter from a year earlier.
    Singapore shares jumped as much as 0.8 percent to a
three-week high, led by gains in financials, with the index on
track to end higher for a seventh week in nine. 
    Top banks DBS Group and Oversea-Chinese Banking
Corp Ltd gained nearly 1 percent and 1.5 percent,
respectively. 
    Most other Southeast Asian stock markets are seeing a bout
of profit-taking, said Manny Cruz, analyst at Asiasec Equities
Inc.
    Philippine shares shed 0.9 percent, with SM
Investments Corp dropping 4.4 percent following five
sessions of gains, and SM Prime Holdings Inc down 1.3
percent. 
    Philippine shares are still consolidating, Cruz said, as
they continue to decline after having breached a key 9,000 level
for the first time at the end of January.    
    Indonesian shares eased slightly. Consumer goods
giant Unilever Indonesia fell 1.2 percent, on track to
post third straight session of losses. Animal feed maker Charoen
Pokphand Indonesia Tbk PT shed 1 percent. 
    Malaysian shares slipped 0.4 percent, set to snap a
six-session winning run, as losses in consumer discretionary and
financial stocks weighed on the index.
    Meanwhile, broader ex-Japan Asian shares rose marginally
after Wall Street posted gains overnight as worries of imminent
U.S. military action on Syria eased after President Donald Trump
tempered his warning, and also asked his trade advisers to look
at re-joining the Trans Pacific Partnership.
    China's trade surplus with the United States rose 19.4
percent in the first quarter, data showed, after weeks of tariff
threats by Washington and Beijing.
    The Thai market was closed on Friday. 

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SOUTHEAST ASIAN STOCK MARKETS: Change as at 0403 GMT
                 Current   Previous Close  Pct Move
 Singapore       3491.83   3468.61         0.67
 Manila          7969.54   8043.07         -0.91
 Jakarta         6305.881  6310.802        -0.08
 Kuala Lumpur    1869.41   1873.62         -0.22
 Ho Chi Minh     1173.79   1173.02         0.07
                                           
 Change on year                            
 Market          Current   End 2017        Pct Move
 Singapore       3491.83   3402.92         2.61
 Manila          7969.54   8558.42         -6.88
 Jakarta         6305.881  6355.654        -0.78
 Kuala Lumpur    1869.41   1796.81         4.04
 Ho Chi Minh     1173.79   984.24          19.26
 


 (Reporting by Nicole Pinto; Editing by Amrutha Gayathri)
  
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