SE Asia Stocks-Most rebound on Fed liquidity boost; Singapore leads gains

By Arpit Nayak

* Indonesia marks best day in three weeks * Thai cenbank likely to cut rates to new low * Philippine cenbank to buy $5.8 bln govt securities By Arpit Nayak March 24 (Reuters) - Most Southeast Asian stock markets rebounded on Tuesday, as the U.S. Federal Reserve pledged unlimited quantitative easing to support credit markets in a bid to backstop an economy reeling from emergency restrictions to fight the coronavirus. Policymakers across the globe are looking to stave off a deep economic freeze from lockdowns and travel bans through a slew of monetary and fiscal policy measures. In an unprecedented move, the Fed said on Monday it would make a foray into corporate debt and pledged to buy an unlimited amount of U.S. Treasuries and agency mortgage-backed securities to ease credit strains and provide support to the virus-hit economy. "Asian investors like what they see from an all-in Fed which is being viewed in a very impressive light for both Main and Wall Street, even as the U.S. congress dithers," Stephen Innes, chief global markets strategist at AxiCorp, said in a note. "But once a Covid-19 aid deal is signed, it will be perceived as the icing on the cake." Leading the gains in Southeast Asia, Singapore shares jumped as much as 4.7%. Financial and telecom stocks were the biggest gainers, with lender DBS Group Holdings and Singapore Telecommunications rising 6.2% and 7%, respectively. Malaysian shares gained 2.9%, even after the government said it might consider extending a two-week partial lockdown due to a spike in coronavirus cases. Public Bank added 9.1%, while hospital operator IHH Healthcare rose almost 4%. Philippine shares tacked on 2.1%, after the central bank on Monday said it would buy government securities worth $5.8 billion to offset the economic impact of the virus. Thai stocks climbed 4.2%, with the financial and consumer sectors leading the gains. The central bank is likely to cut its benchmark interest rate to a new low at a meeting on Wednesday, a Reuters poll suggested. Indonesian shares rose 3.4% in their biggest intraday percentage gain in three weeks, before paring gains. For Asian Companies click; SOUTHEAST ASIAN STOCK MARKETS as at 0329 GMT Change on the day Market Current Previous Pct Move close Singapore 2,303.94 2,233.48 3.15 Bangkok 1,043.23 1,024.46 1.83 Manila 4,812.25 4,743.37 1.45 Jakarta 4,019.463 3,989.517 0.75 Kuala Lumpur 1,295.5 1,259.88 2.83 Ho Chi Minh 659.89 666.59 -1.01 Change so far in 2020 Market Current End 2019 Pct Move Singapore 2,303.94 3,222.83 -28.51 Bangkok 1,043.23 1,579.84 -33.97 Manila 4,812.25 7,815.26 -38.42 Jakarta 4,019.463 6,299.54 -36.19 Kuala Lumpur 1,295.5 1,588.76 -18.46 Ho Chi Minh 659.89 960.99 -31.33 (Reporting by Arpit Nayak; Editing by Subhranshu Sahu)