SE Asia Stocks-Tepid as virus anxiety weighs; Thailand rises on energy stocks

By Arundhati Dutta

* China reports 5,000 new virus cases, ship disembarks in Cambodia * The Philippine index leads declines, down up to 0.7% * Oil prices set for first weekly gain in six, lift Thai index * Singapore set for biggest weekly gain in over 3 months By Arundhati Dutta Feb 14 (Reuters) - Southeast Asian stock markets were subdued on Friday as renewed doubts about the scale of coronavirus outbreak spooked investors, while the Thai index rose with its prominent energy sector gaining as oil prices extended their week-old recovery. Financial markets have hinged on virus headlines through the week and rallied at any sign of infections easing. Officials in Hubei province – the epicentre of the outbreak - shocked markets on Thursday by announcing a sharp increase in new infections and deaths from the coronavirus, reflecting the adoption of a new method to diagnose the illness. The province on Friday reported 4,823 new cases, well above the levels seen earlier this month, but the daily death toll and number of infections were down sharply from the previous day. "The main catalyst for the case for higher equities remains the promise of global stimulus, but if China's weakness extends to the second quarter, risk appetite will have trouble driving risky assets higher, " Edward Moya, analyst at OANDA wrote in a note. Central banks of Singapore and Malaysia have hinted at policy easing in the future, while Thailand recently cut its benchmark interest rate to a record low. Leading declines, the Philippine index dropped as much as 0.7%, dented by losses in conglomerates Ayala Land and SM Investments. The energy-heavy Thai index was lifted by oil prices, which were set for their first weekly gain in six. Petroleum producers PTT Pcl and PTT Exploration and Production Pcl advanced 0.6% and 1.2%, respectively. Indonesian equities edged a tick higher, but were set to log losses for the week. The benchmark index was supported by consumer stocks, with food distributor PT Indofood Sukses Makmur Tbk adding up to 1.4% Singaporean stocks were subdued, but poised for their biggest weekly gain in over three months. Index heavyweights Jardine Strategic Holdings and Jardine Matheson Holdings advanced up to 1.9% and 1.3%, respectively. Vietnamese shares were little changed. For Asian Companies click; SOUTHEAST ASIAN STOCK MARKETS AS AT 0414 GMT STOCK MARKETS Change on the day Market Current Previous close Pct Move Singapore 3224.82 3220.09 0.15 Bangkok 1537.2 1532.77 0.29 Manila 7376.53 7403.12 -0.36 Jakarta 5874.259 5871.954 0.04 Kuala Lumpur 1537.82 1539.16 -0.09 Ho Chi Minh 937.98 938.24 -0.03 Change so far in 2020 Market Current End 2019 Pct Move Singapore 3224.82 3222.83 0.06 Bangkok 1537.2 1579.84 -2.70 Manila 7376.53 7,815.26 -5.61 Jakarta 5874.259 6,299.54 -6.75 Kuala Lumpur 1537.82 1588.76 -3.21 Ho Chi Minh 937.98 960.99 -2.39 (Reporting by Arundhati Dutta; Editing by Sherry Jacob-Phillips)