Stocks fall

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    Most Southeast Asian stock markets closed lower after weak growth readings from China, while Indonesian stocks extended gains to a sixth day boosted by strength in the financial and consumer sectors.

    China, the region’s largest trading partner, grew at its weakest pace in almost three decades in the third quarter, as the bruising trade war with the United States hit factory production.

    While bleak data has raised prospects for further policy easing, analysts at OCBC said that a few positive factors, such as a truce in the trade war, a pickup in infrastructure investment and stabilization of the manufacturing sector may prompt China’s central bank to adopt a wait and see stance.

    In contrast to the disappointing 6 percent annual growth in GDP, China’s industrial output grew a better-than-expected 5.8 percent in September, faster than the 17-year-low posted in August.

    Philippine shares led declines in Southeast Asia, with utilities and financial firms among the biggest drags on Manila’s benchmark index which managed to post a second consecutive weekly gain.

    BDO Unibank and Manila Electric fell 2.6 percent and 2.3 percent, respectively.

    Singapore stocks slipped 0.4 percent to a one-week low, hurt by weakness in the consumer and financial sectors. United Overseas Bank and Singapore Airlines lost 0.8 percent and 1.4 percent, respectively.

    Losses in the consumer and telecom sectors pushed Malaysia’s benchmark index 0.2 percent lower, with food processor IOI Corporation and mobile communication service provider Digi.Com Bhd shedding 3.4 percent and 1.1 percent, respectively.

    Thai stocks edged lower. Industrial and financial stocks led declines on the benchmark index, with Kasikornbank Pcl and real estate developer Asset World Pcl Corp down 2.2 percent and 2.9 percent each.

    Investor focus will now turn to the release of trade data next week. The trade-reliant economy’s customs-cleared exports in September are likely to grow 1.2 percent from a year earlier, a Reuters poll showed, after falling 4 percent the previous month. – Reuters