SE Asia stocks up

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    Most Southeast Asian stock markets rose on Wednesday, tracking broader Asia, as hopes of a deal to avoid a disorderly British exit from the European Union and upbeat US corporate numbers lifted sentiment, with Singapore trading at a two-week high.

    Officials and diplomats involved in negotiations over the acrimonious divorce between the world’s fifth-largest economy and its biggest trading bloc said that differences over the terms of the split had narrowed significantly.

    Meanwhile, stronger-than-expected earnings from major US lenders JPMorgan, Citigroup and Wells Fargo boosted risk appetite, even as the International Monetary Fund downgraded its 2019 global growth forecast for a fifth time due to trade tensions.

    Financials and industrial sectors underpinned gains in Singapore’s benchmark Straits Times index, with top lenders United Overseas Bank and DBS Group Holdings climbing 0.8 percent and 0.2 percent, respectively.

    “Banks in the United States have surprised positively … the positive impact is spilling over to the Singapore banks,” Linus Loo, head of research at Lim & Tan Securities said.

    Thai stocks were on track for a third straight session of gains, helped by industrial and financial sectoral boost.

    The Indonesian index shed early gains, and is on track to snap a three-session winning streak, helped by telecom and consumer sectors.

    Shares of Telekomunikasi Indonesia slipped 0.5 percent, while Astra International dropped 0.8 percent.

    Telecom and utility sectors lifted Malaysia’s benchmark index to its highest in two weeks.

    Electric utility firm Tenaga Nasional rose 0.4 percent, while mobile communication service provider Digi.Com Bhd advanced 1.3 percent, marking its best session in nearly five weeks. – Reuters