January 20, 2018, 6:57 pm
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SE Asia stocks up

Most Southeast Asian stock markets firmed on Tuesday, tracking broader Asia, as strong China manufacturing data and ebbing tensions on the Korean Peninsula aided positive sentiment, with Indonesia setting a fresh record.

Manufacturing growth in the world’s second largest economy unexpectedly accelerated to a four-month high in December as factories cranked up production to meet a surge in new orders, a private business survey showed.

Meanwhile, North Korean leader Kim Jong Un used his televised New Year’s Day speech to call for lower military tensions and improved ties with the South.

MSCI’s broadest index of Asia-Pacific shares outside Japan climbed 0.5 percent to a level last visited in 2007, having risen by one-third in value last year. 

Singapore shares firmed 0.4 percent to a two-week high, with financials and real estate stocks accounting for most of the gains.

The city-state’s full-year growth for 2017 came in at the top end of the government’s official 3.0 to 3.5 percent forecast range, marking the fastest expansion since 2014.

Index heavyweight DBS Group Holdings Ltd climbed 0.5 percent to a 2-week high, while Hongkong Land Holdings Ltd rose 0.7 percent.

Indonesian shares climbed 0.8 percent to an all-time high, led by financials and consumer staples.

Indonesia’s annual inflation rate in December picked up pace for the first time since June as consumers shopped for year-end holidays, statistics bureau data showed.

Bank Central Asia Tbk PT firmed 2.4 percent, while Charoen Pokphand Indonesia Tbk Pt added 7 percent.

Vietnam shares rose 0.5 percent, with Saigon Beer Alcohol Beverage Corp gaining 1.4 percent.

Meanwhile, Malaysian shares fell 0.9 percent, with the consumer staples sector weighing on the index the most. – Reuters 
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