SE Asia Stocks-Edge lower; Philippines leads losses on foreign outflows

By Anushka Trivedi

* Philippines extends losses to a fourth session * Indonesian stocks pressured by financials, consumer sectors * Thai shares flat after data shows decline in Aug exports By Anushka Trivedi Sept 20 (Reuters) - Southeast Asian stock markets dropped on Friday, with the Philippine index leading losses as many foreign investors pulled money out of emerging markets following a spike in geopolitical tensions. An attack on Saudi Arabia's key oil facilities last weekend heightened tensions between the United States and Iran, as the former blamed Tehran for the attacks and added that potential retaliation measures would be implemented if needed. The attacks and subsequent exchange between both countries have spurred a bout of volatility in the markets, with most Southeast Asian equities heading for a weekly decline. The Philippine bourse was set to end lower for a fourth straight session. Financials dominated losses in the benchmark, with heavyweight SM Prime Holdings Inc shedding 1.3%. "There is fear of further tensions in the Middle East and that's why emerging markets such as the Philippines have been suffering in terms of money outflows. So most of the funds are going back into safe assets and that has been a big impact to the performance of PSI," Rachel Cruz, research analyst, AP Securities. Indonesian stocks were little changed as gains were capped by a decline in banking and consumer sectors. The country's central bank on Thursday slashed interest rates for a third straight month, while also relaxing some lending rules in a bid to stimulate Southeast Asia's biggest economy marred by the prolonged U.S.-China trade tussle and a slowdown in global demand. However, analysts at Citibank expect the measures to aid only marginally, as a drop in revenue of commodity exporters could lead to negative spill-overs to the domestic economy. "This will cast clouds on company capex plans in affected sectors, as well as on banks' risk appetite for lending," analysts said. Lenders Bank Rakyat Indonesia (Persero) Tbk PT and Bank Mandiri (Persero) Tbk PT faltered over 1% each, whereas poultry feed maker Charoen Pokphand Indonesia Tbk PT shaved off 2.4% from the index. Malaysian shares extended declines to a third session, dented by consumer and telco sectors. A continued weakness in palm oil prices hurt stocks such as Kuala Lumpur Kepong Bhd, which dropped to a nearly four-year low, while telecom services provider Maxis Bhd lost 1.8%. Thai shares were trading flat shortly after government data showed the country's customs-cleared exports in August had declined 4% year-over-year. Meanwhile, Singapore shares traded a tick higher. For Asian Companies click; SOUTHEAST ASIAN STOCK MARKETS as at 0422 GMT Change on the day Market Current Previous close Pct Move Singapore 3160.32 3158.8 0.05 Bangkok 1636.2 1640.66 -0.27 Manila 7890.83 7911.32 -0.26 Jakarta 6219.077 6244.47 -0.41 Kuala Lumpur 1591.4 1596.28 -0.31 Ho Chi Minh 996.29 997.1 -0.08 Change so far in 2019 Market Current End 2018 Pct Move Singapore 3160.32 3068.76 2.98 Bangkok 1636.2 1563.88 4.62 Manila 7890.83 7,466.02 5.69 Jakarta 6219.077 6,194.50 0.40 Kuala Lumpur 1591.4 1690.58 -5.87 Ho Chi Minh 996.29 892.54 11.62 (Reporting by Anushka Trivedi in Bengaluru; Editing by Sherry Jacob-Phillips)