SE Asia Stocks-Most trade flat-to-low as investors await clarity on tariff roll-back

By Sameer Manekar

* Thai stocks flat-to-low ahead of policy decision * Philippines sees worst session in over a month * Singapore set to rise for third consecutive session By Sameer Manekar Nov 6 (Reuters) - Most Southeast Asian stock markets traded in a flat-to-low range on Wednesday, with the Philippines leading declines after recent gains, as investors turned cautious in anticipation of concrete details from the Sino-U.S. trade negotiations. China is insisting that the United States remove tariffs imposed in September as a part of the "phase one" Sino-U.S. trade deal, which is expected to be signed this month at a yet-to-be-determined location. Markets now await clarity on the tariff roll-back by Washington following a report that the U.S. was considering whether to withdraw its Sept. 1 trade duties on about $125 billion worth of Chinese goods. "Continued optimism that the U.S. and China are on the cusp of sealing the 'Phase 1' trade deal is now conditional on meeting Beijing's demand for a rollback at least of tariffs imposed in September, over and above avoiding further tariff escalation," Mizuho Bank said in a note. "Markets should be wary of the boat being rocked when high-rolling on trade optimism." The Philippine bourse led declines in the region, falling after finishing at its highest in over three months in the previous session. Financials and utilities were the biggest drags, as SM Prime Holdings lost 2.6%, while Aboitiz Power Corp slumped 3.5% after reporting a drop in its quarterly consolidated net income. Indonesian shares slipped as much as 0.7% after posting their biggest intraday rise in over three weeks on Tuesday. Index heavyweights Bank Central Asia and Unilever Indonesia lost as much as 0.9% and 1.3%, respectively. An index of Jakarta's 45 most liquid stocks declined up to 1% after posting its best day in over five months on Tuesday. Financials and consumer sectors weighed on Malaysia's benchmark index, with CIMB Group Holdings and Sime Darby Plantation losing up to 1.1% and 2.4%, respectively. The central bank stood pat on its benchmark interest rate on Tuesday, saying it expects private sector spending to remain resilient. Bucking the trend, Singapore shares were set to rise for a third straight session, boosted by financials and industrial companies. Real estate firm Hongkong Land Holdings and industrial conglomerate Jardine Matheson Holdings were among the top gainers, rising as much as 3.5% and 2.9% each. Thai index was little changed, near its two-week high finish on Tuesday, ahead of a Bank of Thailand policy meeting. The central bank is expected to hold its benchmark interest rate later in the day, a Reuters poll showed.. For Asian Companies click; SOUTHEAST ASIAN STOCK MARKETS AS AT 0431 GMT Change on the day Market Current Previous close Pct Move Singapore 3260.03 3248.63 0.35 Bangkok 1624.06 1626.87 -0.17 Manila 8104.85 8216.68 -1.36 Jakarta 6240.478 6264.152 -0.38 Kuala Lumpur 1600.4 1606.74 -0.39 Ho Chi Minh 1026.19 1024.34 0.18 Change on year Market Current End 2018 Pct Move Singapore 3260.03 3068.76 6.23 Bangkok 1624.06 1563.88 3.85 Manila 8104.85 7466.02 8.56 Jakarta 6240.478 6194.498 0.74 Kuala Lumpur 1600.4 1690.58 -5.33 Ho Chi Minh 1026.19 892.54 14.97 (Reporting by Sameer Manekar in Bengaluru; editing by Uttaresh.V)