April 23, 2018, 8:01 am
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SE Asia stocks down as N. Korea tensions linger

Southeast Asian stock markets, except Singapore and Vietnam, edged lower on Thursday as lingering tensions between the United States and North Korea dampened risk appetite in the region, which is geographically close to the epicenter of this crisis.

Asian shares snapped a brief foray into positive territory earlier in the day to drop 0.9 percent, extending losses from Wednesday when strong rhetoric drove investors out of stocks and into textbook safe havens like gold and Treasuries.

Pyongyang’s state-run KCNA news agency said it was considering plans to fire four intermediate-range missiles to land 30-40 kilometers from Guam, a US Pacific territory home to a military base that includes a submarine squadron and an air base. 

Any news of a war or tension is always a reason to sell, said Mikey Macainag, an analyst with Sunsecurities Inc.

In Southeast Asia, Philippines fell as much as 0.6 percent, heading for its third straight session of losses.

Consumer stocks and utilities were the biggest drag on the index, with JG Summit Holdings Inc losing as much as 4.8 percent.

Investors are in a risk-off mode ahead of GDP data expected next week, said Macainag. 

Thai shares dropped as much as 0.3 percent to its lowest in a month, with financials and energy leading the losses.

Malaysia and Indonesia were marginally lower.

Singapore’s FTSE Straits Times Index rose as much as 0.8 percent, its biggest intraday gain since July 21, pushed higher by financials and industrials.

DBS Group Holdings Ltd climbed as much as 1.6 percent, while Jardine Matheson Holdings Ltd rose as much as 1.7 percent.

Vietnam edged up after slipping as much as 0.5 percent to its lowest since July 26 earlier in the session.

Consumer staples and energy stocks led the gainers, with Vietnam Dairy Products rising as much as 1.2 percent. – Reuters 
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