Southeast stocks: Most end higher as some global lockdown curbs ease

04/28/2020 | 06:41am

Most Southeast Asian stock markets recouped losses from early trade to close higher on Tuesday, as optimism from the easing of lockdown measures in some coronavirus hotspots across the world outweighed gloom stemming from a fresh decline in oil prices.

The United States, one of the major global epicenters of the COVID-19 pandemic, has begun easing stay-at-home restrictions at several states to revive economies and get people back to work following crushing job losses.

In Europe, Italy said it would start easing curbs from May 4 as it prepares a staged end to Europe's longest coronavirus lockdown.

"Understandably, news of reopening plans across U.S. states and various other hard-hit economies, such as Italy, through the COVID-19 episode has been comforting news," Jingyi Pan, market strategist at IG said in a note.

As more countries allow businesses to reopen, following lockdowns to contain coronavirus outbreaks, markets are hoping the worst may be over for the world economy.

Earlier in the day, Southeast Asian markets were trading in the red after oil prices posted fresh declines, bringing back worries about low demand and the global economy taking longer to recover.

The Philippines led gains in the region, rising 2.3% at close to mark its best day since April 17. Conglomerate SM Investments closed 5% higher while BDO Unibank Inc finished about 2% up. The lender posted a 10.2% fall in first-quarter net income earlier in the day.

Singapore's Straits Times Index settled 0.5% higher, lifted by Keppel Corp which advanced 3.8% at session end, and Singapore Telecommunications which rose over 1%.

S&P Global Ratings affirmed a stable credit outlook for Singapore, saying the country's external and fiscal positions are likely to remain intact despite the challenging domestic and macroeconomic environment.

Basic material stocks helped the Thai benchmark rise about 0.6% to close at its highest since March 6. Chemical company Indorama Ventures settled 2.8% higher, while PTT Global Chemical advanced 1.4%.

Indonesia stocks finished the session 0.4% up, with petrochemical producer Barito Pacific firming 11.1%, and Chandra Asri Petrochemical rising 2.3% at close.

Meanwhile, Vietnam stocks closed 0.5% down, pressured by the consumer and energy sectors.

(Reporting by Nikhil Subba in Bengaluru; Editing by Ramakrishnan M.)

By Nikhil Subba

© Reuters 2021
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