SE Asia Stocks-Most markets tepid amid trade anxiety; Philippines rises

By Soumyajit Saha

* High-level Sino-U.S. trade talks to begin on Thursday * The Philippines' Aug trade deficit narrows on-month * Energy and banking sectors dent Thailand index By Soumyajit Saha Oct 10 (Reuters) - Philippine stocks rose in low volumes, while most other Southeast Asian markets held steady on Thursday, as investors remained cautious as neither Washington nor Beijing had shown signs of giving ground at the trade negotiations. U.S. S&P500 mini futures tumbled after media reports cited that no progress was made in the deputy-level trade talks, and that the Chinese delegation was planning to leave Washington on Thursday after just one day of high-level talks, instead of Friday as originally planned. Washington is weighing a currency pact with China as part of a partial deal that could see a planned tariff hike next week being suspended, Bloomberg reported citing sources familiar with the talks. "I think we will see neutral markets as people are taking a more cautionary approach and holding positions, given the risk that the outcome of the talk might have a negative impact on the markets," said Linus Loo, head of research, Lim & Tan Securities. Hopes for a breakthrough are not high, but some investors are trying to scale back their positions, at least temporarily, because the outcome of the trade negotiations cannot be predicted. The Singapore index, which is among the most vulnerable to the trade dispute with China being the region's biggest trading partner, dropped to its weakest since Oct. 4. Meanwhile, real-estate and banking sectors lifted the Philippines' benchmark index, though volumes traded on Thursday were a fraction of their monthly average. Property developer SM Prime Holdings gained 1.6%, while Bank of the Philippine Islands was up 1.7%. Philippines' trade deficit narrowed to $2.41 billion in August from a deficit of $3.39 billion in July, as exports rose 0.6% year-on-year. Indonesian shares edged a tick higher, with Chandra Asri Petrochemical climbing 1.8% and conglomerate Astra International rising 0.8%. The Thai index set to close lower for a seventh session in nine, dented by losses in energy and banking sectors. Gas explorer PTT PCL dropped 2.2%, while lender Siam Commercial Bank fell 0.9%. For Asian Companies click; SOUTHEAST ASIAN STOCK MARKETS AS AT 0420 GMT STOCK MARKETS Change on the day Market Current Previous Pct Move close Singapore 3085.98 3089.9 -0.13 Bangkok 1609.98 1616.18 -0.38 Manila 7730.18 7681.25 0.64 Jakarta 6034.329 6029.16 0.09 Kuala Lumpur 1550.73 1551.23 -0.03 Ho Chi Minh 990.34 987.83 0.25 Change so far in 2019 Market Current End 2018 Pct Move Singapore 3085.98 3068.76 0.56 Bangkok 1609.98 1563.88 2.95 Manila 7730.18 7,466.02 3.54 Jakarta 6034.329 6,194.50 -2.59 Kuala Lumpur 1550.73 1690.58 -8.27 Ho Chi Minh 990.34 892.54 10.96 (Reporting by Soumyajit Saha in Bengaluru, Editing by Sherry Jacob-Phillips)