SE Asia Stocks-Most rise on stimulus hopes, bargain hunting

By Shruti Sonal

* Trump vows to take "major steps" to shield economy * Singapore shares see best session since Dec. 2018 * Philippine stocks fall for third straight session By Shruti Sonal March 10 (Reuters) - Most Southeast Asian stock markets bounced back on Tuesday from steep falls in the previous session, as investors picked up beaten-down stocks amid speculation of coordinated stimulus measures from central banks. U.S. President Donald Trump vowed to take "major" steps to shield the economy against the impact of the coronavirus outbreak, while speculation of more central bank rate cuts and fiscal stimulus measures also rose. U.S. Treasury yields edged higher from historic lows and oil prices clawed back some gains after an overnight rout in U.S. shares triggered trading halts for the first time since 1997, with the S&P 500 index closing down 7.6%. Selling pressure eased in most Southeast Asian markets, in line with their broader Asian peers, but investors remained cautious. "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. He, however, expects volatility to continue in the next few months. 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. Singapore shares, which had fallen most in 11 years on Monday, gained as much as 2.2% in their best session since December 2018. Bourse-operator Singapore Exchange Ltd rose over 5% and boosted the benchmark after reporting record February derivatives trading volumes a day earlier. Indonesian shares, which have slumped over 18% so far this year, rose as much as 2.8% on strength in financials. Bank Central Asia Tbk PT and Bank Mega Tbk PT climbed about 3% and 4%, respectively. The country's finance minister said authorities would use measures including buying back government bonds to stabilise financial markets. The Philippine benchmark fell for a third straight session, hurt by weakness in utilities and industrials. Index-heavyweight Aboitiz Equity Ventures shed over 7% and hit its lowest since November 2011 after posting a fall in its core net income for 2019. For Asian Companies click; SOUTHEAST ASIAN STOCK MARKETS as at 0343 GMT Change on the day Market Current Previous close Pct Move Singapore 2811.69 2782.37 1.05 Bangkok 1270.61 1255.94 1.17 Manila 6246.26 6312.61 -1.05 Jakarta 5219.478 5136.809 1.61 Kuala Lumpur 1433.63 1424.16 0.66 Ho Chi Minh 828.3 835.49 -0.86 Change so far in 2020 Market Current End 2019 Pct Move Singapore 2811.69 3222.83 -12.76 Bangkok 1270.61 1579.84 -19.57 Manila 6246.26 7,815.26 -20.08 Jakarta 5219.478 6,299.54 -17.15 Kuala Lumpur 1433.63 1588.76 -9.76 Ho Chi Minh 828.3 960.99 -13.81 (Reporting by Shruti Sonal; Editing by Editing by Anil D'Silva)