SE Asia Stocks-End dismal year on tepid note

Monday, 31 December 2018 00:44 -     - {{hitsCtrl.values.hits}}

REUTERS: Most Southeast Asian stock markets were lacklustre on Friday, but saw off a year that was plagued by trade tension-driven equity sell-downs with significant annual losses. 

Thailand and Vietnam markets were the only ones that saw major intraday movement, with Thailand rising about 1% while Vietnam closed 0.9% lower. 

Barring Singapore and Malaysia, markets in the region had their last trading session for 2018. Singapore, Thai and Philippine stocks lost more than 10% each during the year as a bitter trade dispute between the US and China ravaged risk appetite and caused severe capital outflows. 

Indonesian stocks declined the least, falling about 2.5%. The Indonesian market was insulated to some degree against global trade tensions thanks to its high dependence on domestic consumption, said Taye Shim, head of research at Mirae Asset Sekuritas Indonesia. 

Indonesian stocks were largely flat for the day. 

Thai stocks were bolstered by broad-based strength, led by oil and gas explorer PTT PCL and Airports of Thailand. However, for the year, the index shed around 10.8%. 

Philippine stocks fell slightly, but saw the sharpest annual drop among peers, losing 12.8% – the worst in a decade due to higher oil prices and sustained capital outflows. 

Vietnam markets fell in the closing moments of trade. A stockbroker in the country attributed the move to last-minute portfolio restructuring by investment firms. Real estate stocks such as Vingroup JSC and Vincom Retail JSC were heavily sold, while consumer staples like Saigon Beer Alcohol Beverage Corp and Hoang Anh Gia Lai Agricultural JSC rose slightly.