Weak China data hurts risk appetite, Singapore stocks fall

Vietnam shares firm 0.4 per cent, hitting a near-decade high, as the stock index rises for an eighth successive session. — File pic
Vietnam shares firm 0.4 per cent, hitting a near-decade high, as the stock index rises for an eighth successive session. — File pic

SINGAPORE, Nov 14 — Most South-east Asian stock markets traded cautiously today, in line with broader Asia, as disappointing Chinese economic data and worries over US tax reforms hurt risk appetite.

However, the Vietnam index rose for an eighth session in a row, set for its longest winning streak in more than a year and moving closer to a decade high.

China's industrial output cooled in October, while fixed asset investment and retail sales grew at a slower-than-expected pace, suggesting the economy may be loosing some steam as the government cracks down on debt risks and pollution.

The world's second-largest economy is one of the biggest trade partners of South-east Asian nations.

“All in all, a slew of disappointing financial data indicate that the PBOC's tightening bias and the deleverage campaign might have taken effect in slowing economic activities,” OCBC said in a note.

MSCI's broadest index of Asia-Pacific shares outside Japan dipped 0.2 per cent.

Investors were also waiting for any signs of compromise on US tax policy after Senate Republicans unveiled a plan that would cut corporate taxes a year later than a rival House of Representatives' bill.

In South-east Asia, Singapore shares fell 0.5 per cent, dragged by financials and consumer staples. Wilmar International Ltd and United Overseas Bank Ltd were the top drags on the index, down 4.2 per cent and 0.8 per cent, respectively.

Agribusiness company Wilmar International fell to its lowest in more than six weeks, after posting a 6 per cent drop in third-quarter net profit.

Vietnam shares firmed 0.4 per cent, hitting a near-decade high, with losses in food processor Vietnam Dairy Products Joint Stock Co outweighed by gains in financials and real estate sectors.

Philippine shares inched 0.5 per cent lower and were on track for their third consecutive session of losses, with financials leading the decline.

BDO Unibank slipped 1.9 per cent, making it the biggest drag on the index.

Meanwhile, the Thai index inched up 0.5 per cent, snapping three consecutive session of losses, helped by gains in telecommunication services and real estate stocks.

Malaysian shares traded largely flat, with conglomerate Genting Berhad, down 2 per cent, being the biggest drag on the benchmark index. — Reuters

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