SE Asia Stocks-Malaysia ends at 2-week low; Singapore gains on China's stimulus hopes

By Shreya Mariam Job

* Vietnam posts third straight loss * Malaysia drops to two-week closing low * Thai index posts fourth consecutive gain By Shreya Mariam Job June 13 (Reuters) - The Malaysian stock market hit a two-week closing low on Thursday dragged by utility stocks, as a U.S.-China standoff over terms of a trade deal dampened investor sentiment, while hopes of further stimulus from Beijing boosted some of its trading partners such as Singapore. China's commerce ministry said on Thursday Beijing will not yield to any "maximum pressure" from Washington, and any attempt by the United States to force China into accepting a trade deal will fail. However, the few markets in the Southeast Asian region found support after China's Vice Premier Liu He signalled further stimulus by the regulators to shore up its ailing economy. Beijing has plenty of policy tools and is capable of dealing with various challenges, Liu said at a financial forum in Shanghai. The government will roll out more strong measures to promote reforms and opening up, he added. This comes after data showed China's credit growth was weaker than expected in May, and ahead of retail sales and industrial output data expected on Friday. "...The Chinese economy is currently a stimulus-driven economy but regular economic activity has slowed down" ING said in a note to its clients. The Malaysian benchmark index closed in the red, as utility stocks dragged. Shares of state utility firm Tenaga Nasional Bhd closed at an over two-week low, falling 1.8% in the session. Meanwhile, shares of Genting Bhd dropped 2.1%. Vietnam's index declined 0.4%, weighed down by consumer and real estate stocks. Shares of Vietnam Dairy Products JSC slipped 1.6%, while those of top property stock Vingroup JSC dipped 0.4%. The Indonesian benchmark also inched lower. Indonesia's economic growth in 2019 is expected to be slower than a 5.3% target in the state budget due to more sluggish global economic growth, lower trade volume and low commodity prices, its finance minister said on Thursday. Meanwhile, Singapore's benchmark index erased early losses to end the session 0.4% higher with financial and consumer stocks supporting the index. Wilmar International Ltd gained 2.4%, while City Developments Ltd posted an eight-day winning streak rising 2.5%. The Philippine index reversed course to end slightly higher, with a jump in volumes in the last half hour of trade. Industrial stocks drove gains in the index with International Container Terminal Services and JG Summit Holdings Inc adding 3.1% and 2.3%, respectively. The Thai index extended gains into its fourth consecutive session with a 0.2% rise. For Asian Companies click; SOUTHEAST ASIAN STOCK MARKETS Change on the day Market Current Previous close Pct Move Singapore 3220.66 3207.74 0.40 Bangkok 1674.14 1671.11 0.18 Manila 8051.76 8030.98 0.26 Jakarta 6273.082 6276.177 -0.05 Kuala Lumpur 1643.74 1650.74 -0.42 Ho Chi Minh 950.08 954.17 -0.43 Change so far in 2019 Market Current End 2018 Pct Move Singapore 3220.66 3068.76 4.95 Bangkok 1674.14 1563.88 7.05 Manila 8051.76 7,466.02 7.85 Jakarta 6273.082 6,194.50 1.27 Kuala Lumpur 1643.74 1690.58 -2.77 Ho Chi Minh 950.08 892.54 6.45 (Reporting by Shreya Mariam Job in Bengaluru; Editing by Rashmi Aich)