SE Asia stocks rise as US-Korea tensions ease

People watch US President Donald Trump speak on television regarding the North Korea crisis on the island of Guam on Monday. Southeast Asian stock markets closed higher on Monday as investors picked looked past tensions between the United States and North Korea. (Reuters photo)

Southeast Asian stock markets closed higher on Monday as investors picked up beaten down shares, looking past tensions between the United States and North Korea.

Tensions on the Korean peninsula eased slightly on Monday as South Korea’s president said resolving Pyongyang’s nuclear ambitions must be done peacefully and key US officials played down the risk of an imminent war with North Korea.

In Asia, MSCI’s broadest index excluding Japan rose 0.8%, largely unaffected by a slew of activity data from China that was softer than forecast, though still largely solid.

“I think there is bargain hunting in the market, particularly in the regional equities, which have been embattled by geopolitical tensions last week,” said Manny Cruz, an analyst with Manila-based Asiasec Equities Inc.

President Donald Trump warned at the weekend that the US military was “locked and loaded” if North Korea acted unwisely after threatening last week to land missiles near the US Pacific territory of Guam.

“There has been some brokering ongoing right now to lessen the tension between North Korea and United States. So, regional markets are hoping that the tension will dissipate in the coming weeks,” Cruz added.

Real estate shares and financials led the gains in both Singapore and the Philippines.

Singapore stocks rose 0.9%, with Capitaland and Genting Singapore gaining 2.2% each.

Philippine shares ended 0.4% higher, with Jollibee Foods and SM Prime Holdings among the top performers on the index. 

Jollibee Foods’ quarterly net income rose 18.1% to 1.96 billion pesos (US$38.3 million).

Investors in Philippines are awaiting the second-quarter GDP data due on Thursday.

Malaysia rose 0.2%, with consumer discretionary shares accounting for most of the gains. Genting Malaysia rose 3.3%, while Petronas Chemicals Group gained 1.3%.

Indonesia rose 0.7% while Vietnam ended 0.5% higher.

Article source: http://www.bangkokpost.com/business/news/1306032/se-asia-stocks-rise-as-us-korea-tensions-ease

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