March 16, 2020 / 10:47 AM / 19 days ago

SE Asia Stocks-Tumble as virus fears drown out Fed relief; Malaysia confirms bear market

    * Malaysia confirms bear market, hits near 10-year low
    * Singapore ends lower for fourth consecutive session
    * Thailand mulls shutdowns of public spaces

    By Arpit Nayak
    March 16 (Reuters) - Southeast Asian stock slumped on
Monday, with Malaysia confirming a bear market, as the Federal
Reserve's unexpected move to cut interest rates failed to quell
fears over the economic impact of the coronavirus pandemic. 
    The Fed unexpectedly slashed its key rate on Monday to near
zero and pledged to infuse liquidity into its bruising economy,
while New Zealand, Australia and Japan also announced a round of
monetary easing.
    Still, U.S. futures plunged to hit their down limit on
Monday as investors feared that the measures would not be
sufficient to cushion the coronavirus' global economic damage.

    "There's not much that policymakers can do to prevent a
global recession developing over the coming months as the
economic effects of the coronavirus begin to bite," said Neil
Shearing, group chief economist at Capital Economics, in a note.
    "History suggests that equity markets are only likely to
bottom out when it becomes clear that the flow of new cases of
the virus has peaked. Until this happens, we should expect stock
markets to remain under pressure."
    Malaysian equities plunged 4.8% to hit a near
10-year low and joined the rest of the region in bear market
territory.
    A bear market is confirmed when an index closes 20% or more
below its most recent closing high.
    Malayan Banking tumbled 7.5%, while hospital
operator IHH Healthcare fell 7.1%.
    The country on Friday flagged a $800 million hit to tourism
due to the virus in the first two months of the year.

    Philippine equities sank 7.9% in a curtailed trading
session. The exchange has shortened trading hours as authorities
placed the capital Manila under "community quarantine" for about
a month starting Sunday to keep local transmission of the virus
in check.
    Singaporean shares eased 5.3% to end lower for a
fourth-straight session, with financials and industrials leading
declines.
    Lender DBS Group Holdings fell 4% and conglomerate
Jardine Matheson Holdings shed 7%.
    Indonesian stocks lost 4.4%, with financials and
consumer stocks being the biggest drags.
    A Reuters polls suggests Bank Indonesia will likely make a
second cut to its key policy rate in the year later in the week.

    The Thai index tumbled 7.3%, as the country plans to
shut schools, bars, theaters and other entertainment centres to
curb the virus' spread.
    
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SOUTHEAST ASIAN STOCK MARKETS
  Change on the                                        
 day                                          
  Market           Current       Previous     Pct Move
                                 close        
  Singapore        2495.77       2634         -5.25
  Bangkok          1046.08       1128.91      -7.34
  Manila           5335.37       5793.94      -7.91
  Jakarta          4690.657      4907.571     -4.42
  Kuala Lumpur     1280.63       1344.75      -4.77
 Ho Chi Minh       747.86        761.78       -1.83
                                              
  Change so far                               
 in 2020                                      
  Market           Current       End 2019     Pct Move
  Singapore        2495.77       3222.83      -22.41
  Bangkok          1046.08       1579.84      -33.38
  Manila           5335.37       7,815.26     -31.73
  Jakarta          4690.657      6,299.54     -25.54
  Kuala Lumpur     1280.63       1588.76      -19.39
  Ho Chi Minh      747.86        960.99       -22.18
 


 (Reporting by Arpit Nayak; Editing by Amy Caren Daniel)
  
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