The Stock Exchange of Thailand index hits a record 1,818.81 before closing at to 1,810.19 on Friday. (Photo by Pornprom Satrabhaya)

Most Southeast Asian stock markets ended higher on Friday, led by Thailand, tracking gains in broader Asia as strong Chinese trade data and optimism ahead of the US corporate earnings season buoyed sentiment.

Asian shares ex-Japan rose 0.8% following two sessions of declines, after data showed China’s exports rose 10.8% in 2017.

Wall Street’s three major stock indexes hit record highs overnight with earnings for SP 500 companies expected to have increased by 11.8% in the recently-ended quarter, according to Thomson Reuters.

“We are looking at a bullish outlook globally, in terms of economic growth,” said Jose L. Vistan, research head at Manila-based AB Capital Securities. 

The Stock Exchange of Thailand main index closed 0.41% up to 1,810.19, after hitting a record of 1,816.81, helped by gains in financials and utilities.

Siam Commercial Bank Plc rose 2.6% while Gulf Energy Development Plc surged 9.3% to a record.

The index ended the week 1% higher, its seventh straight weekly gain.

The Philippine index pared early gains to end flat as a rise in real estate stocks was offset by a fall in consumer staples. It finished higher for a sixth straight week.

“Given the strong growth globally, the Philippines stands out because we are projected to be the fastest growing in Southeast Asia, which is attracting a lot of attention from investors,” Vistan added.

Singapore shares snapped two sessions of losses and ended 0.2% higher as sentiment got a boost after data showed the city-state’s on-year retail sales in November jumped the highest in nearly two years.

Industrials and financials ended higher, with SATS Ltd, the top performer on the index, adding 2.9%.

The benchmark index rose 0.9% on the week, marking its third straight weekly gain.

Vietnam settled 0.2% higher, led by real estate stocks. Vingroup Joint Stock Company rose 5.4%.

The index posted its fourth weekly gain, adding 3.7%.

Meanwhile, Indonesian shares reversed course to end 0.3% lower, but finished the week marginally higher.

News Reporter

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