March 11, 2020 / 5:15 AM / a month ago

SE Asia Stocks-Utilities drive Philippines 3% higher; Malaysia rises on oil

    * Philippines sees best session since Jan 2019
    * Malaysia rises most since June 2018

    By Shruti Sonal
    March 11 (Reuters) - Philippine shares jumped 3% on
Wednesday in their biggest intraday gain since January 2019,
driven by utilities after reports here
 said President Rodrigo Duterte was willing to meet and talk
with two Metro Manila water firms to settle a government dispute
over water contracts.
    Ayala Corp, Manila Water Co's biggest shareholder
and index heavyweight, jumped 6%, while DMCI Holdings,
a major shareholder of Maynilad Water Services, gained nearly
    Richard Laneda, a research analyst at COL Financial Group,
attributed the gains to the reports and bargain-hunting by some
    Last year, the water regulator had cancelled the extension
of concession deals with Manila Water Coand Maynilad Water, the
country's two largest utilities, on pressure from Duterte.

    Among other markets in Southeast Asia, Malaysia
gained as much as 1.6% in its best intraday session since June
2018 on the back of higher oil prices.
    Lifting sentiment further, Prime Minister Muhyiddin Yassin
said the cabinet had agreed to set up an economic action council
to tackle issues affecting the economy, including a drop in
global oil prices and a coronavirus outbreak.
    Singapore shares fell as much as 0.9%, dragged by
real estate stocks. CapitaLand Commercial Trust slid
more than 3.5%.
    Indonesian equities were relatively flat after
Tuesday's 1.6% jump as the central bank governor said Bank
Indonesia was likely to revise down its outlook for 2020
economic growth at its next policy meeting.
    Meanwhile, broader Asia fell as investors were worried
whether government and central bank measures would be enough to
cushion the economic fallout from the coronavirus outbreak. 
    The White House and Congress negotiated measures on Tuesday
to bolster the U.S. economy and Americans' paychecks against the
outbreak's impact, but there was no immediate sign of a deal.

    "The details of the fiscal support off the US remains
uncertain at this point", said Jingyi Pan, a market strategist
at IG. 
   China and South Korea reported an uptick in new confirmed
cases of infections, even as the number of people infected with
the coronavirus topped 116,000 across the world.

    "Although President Xi Jinping's visit to Wuhan and the
steady improvement in the coronavirus situation in China had
restored some confidence, the same containment efforts may not
be applicable for replication elsewhere," Pan added.
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 Change on the day                                
 Market                 Current   Previous close  Pct Move
 Singapore              2812.41   2832.54         -0.71
 Bangkok                1275.46   1271.25         0.33
 Manila                 6472.11   6318.38         2.43
 Jakarta                5224.735  5220.826        0.07
 Kuala Lumpur           1449.97   1430.47         1.36
 Ho Chi Minh            826.44    837.5           -1.32
 Change so far in 2020                            
 Market                 Current   End 2019        Pct Move
 Singapore              2812.41   3222.83         -12.73
 Bangkok                1275.46   1579.84         -19.27
 Manila                 6472.11   7,815.26        -17.19
 Jakarta                5224.735  6,299.54        -17.06
 Kuala Lumpur           1449.97   1588.76         -8.74
 Ho Chi Minh            826.44    960.99          -14.00
 (Reporting by Shruti Sonal; Editing by Subhranshu Sahu)
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