SE Asia Stocks-Gain as Sino-U.S. trade optimism bolsters sentiment

By Soumyajit Saha

* Delegations from China and the United States end 3 days of talks * Singapore shares extend gains for fifth session * Philippine November trade deficit narrows By Soumyajit Saha Jan 10 (Reuters) - Southeast Asian stock markets climbed on Thursday, with Singapore shares leading the gains, while investors kept a cautious stance awaiting concrete evidence that progress is being made in the U.S.-China trade negotiations. U.S. officials used three days of talks to present Beijing with a long list of demands that would rewrite the terms of trade between the world's two largest economies, and discussed "ways to achieve fairness, reciprocity and balance in trade relations." Singapore shares extended gains for a fifth straight day, buoyed by DBS Group Holdings Ltd and conglomerate Jardine Strategic Holdings Ltd that rose up to 0.9 percent and 0.5 percent, respectively. The Malaysian index recovered from losses in the previous session to climb 0.8 percent. "While Asia complex (foreign exchange and assets) looked set to be positive, it may yet be patient instead of aggressively pursuing gains, given that trade progress so far are low-hanging fruits," Vishnu Varathan, senior economist, Mizuho Bank said in a note. Minutes from the Federal Reserve policy meeting in December also boosted sentiment. A range of Federal Reserve policymakers said they could be patient about future interest rate increases and a few did not support the central bank's rate increase that month, minutes from their meeting showed. However, most traders still expect sentiment to remain positive in the medium term on expectations the Fed will not raise rates in 2019 as well as a potential trade deal in coming months between the world's two largest economies. In the regional markets, Indonesian stocks extended gains into a second session, supported by consumer and materials sectors. Indah Kiat Pulp & Paper Tbk rose up to 6.7 percent to its highest in more than six weeks, while PT Unilever Indonesia Tbk climbed 2.1 percent. Philippine's benchmark index gained after data from the archipelago showed its trade deficit narrowed in November as imports rose at their slowest pace in eight months. Bank of the Philippine Islands climbed as much as 2.7 percent and real estate company SM Prime Holdings Inc gained up to 0.7 percent. Meanwhile, Vietnam stocks traded marginally higher. For Asian Companies click; SOUTHEAST ASIAN STOCK MARKETS AS AT 0444 GMT Market Current Previous close Pct Move Singapore 3178.06 3158.07 0.63 Bangkok 1596.66 1590.5 0.39 Manila 7950.54 7919.67 0.39 Jakarta 6293.466 6272.238 0.34 Kuala Lumpur 1676.59 1667.83 0.53 Ho Chi Minh 898.89 896.99 0.21 Change so far in 2019 Market Current End 2018 Pct Move Singapore 3178.06 3068.76 3.56 Bangkok 1596.66 1563.88 2.10 Manila 7950.54 7,466.02 6.49 Jakarta 6293.466 6,194.50 1.60 Kuala Lumpur 1676.59 1690.58 -0.83 Ho Chi Minh 898.89 892.54 0.71 (Reporting by Niyati Shetty and Soumyajit Saha in Bengaluru, Editing by Sherry Jacob-Phillips)