SE Asia Stocks-Bounce back on stimulus hopes; Singapore biggest gainer

By Shruti Sonal

* Trump vows to take "major" steps to shield economy * Singapore sees best session since June 2016 * Recovery in oil prices boosts energy stocks By Shruti Sonal March 10 (Reuters) - Southeast Asian stocks ended higher on Tuesday, rebounding from steep losses in the previous session, on rising hopes that stimulus measures from global policymakers would help shield economies from the impact of the coronavirus. U.S. Treasury yields edged higher and oil prices recovered some losses after U.S. President Donald Trump vowed to take "major" steps to blunt the economic impact of the coronavirus outbreak, while speculation of more rate cuts and fiscal stimulus measures by central banks across the world also rose. "A combination of bargain hunting after previous session's sharp declines and hopes of more stimulus measures have led to some respite for markets in the region," said Joel Ng, a Singapore-based analyst at KGI Securities. Falling domestic virus cases in China, the region's biggest trading partner, and President Xi Jinping's visit to the epicentre of the epidemic further lifted sentiment in Southeast Asia. Singapore shares, which had fallen the most in 11 years on Monday, closed 1.8% higher in their best session since June 2016. Bourse-operator Singapore Exchange Ltd rose 6.4% and boosted the benchmark after reporting record February derivatives trading volumes a day earlier. Selling pressure eased in other markets as well, although investors remained cautious. Any moves made by monetary and fiscal authorities "will not be a magical panacea to the ills sweeping the globe", said Jeffrey Halley, a senior market analyst at OANDA. "They can only mitigate the situation, not make it go away", he added. On the coronavirus front, Italy announced a lockdown of the entire country until next month to combat the epidemic, while the World Health Organization warned that the threat of a pandemic had become very real. Indonesian shares, which have slumped over 18% so far this year, rose 1.6% on strength in financials. The country's finance minister said authorities would use measures including buying back government bonds to stabilise markets. Bank Central Asia Tbk PT and Bank Mega Tbk PT climbed 2.4% and 3.4%, respectively. Energy sector boosted Thai stocks, which inched 1.2% higher. Oil and gas giant PTT PCL, which had slumped over 25% a day earlier, gained 5.4% in its best session since August 2019. For Asian Companies click; SOUTHEAST ASIAN STOCK MARKETS Change on the day Market Current Previous close Pct Move Singapore 2832.54 2782.37 1.80 Bangkok 1271.25 1255.94 1.22 Manila 6318.38 6312.61 0.09 Jakarta 5220.826 5136.809 1.64 Kuala Lumpur 1430.47 1424.16 0.44 Ho Chi Minh 837.5 835.49 0.24 Change so far in 2020 Market Current End 2019 Pct Move Singapore 2832.54 3222.83 -12.11 Bangkok 1271.25 1579.84 -19.53 Manila 6318.38 7,815.26 -19.15 Jakarta 5220.826 6,299.54 -17.12 Kuala Lumpur 1430.47 1588.76 -9.96 Ho Chi Minh 837.5 960.99 -12.85 (Reporting by Shruti Sonal; Editing by Anil D'Silva)