SE Asia Stocks-Most end lower, trade fears turn investors cautious

By Soumyajit Saha

* High-level Sino-U.S. trade talks to begin on Thursday * World Bank says Asia-Pacific economic growth to slow * Thai cenbank officials say economy growing below potential By Soumyajit Saha Oct 10 (Reuters) - Most Southeast Asian stock markets closed in the red on Thursday amid cautious mood as market participants awaited high-level Sino-U.S. trade talks to begin, while Philippines ended over 1% firmer. The first minister-level trade talks in months is slated to begin later in the day, as the world's top two economies attempt to blunt the blow of a tit-for-tat tariff war that has battered growth worldwide. Elsewhere, a World Bank report said Asia Pacific economies are expected to slow this year due to uncertainty around trade tensions, while a slowdown in major global economies could further hurt the region's exports. "I think we will see people taking a more cautionary approach and holding positions, given the risk that the outcome of the talk might have a negative impact on the markets," said Linus Loo, head of research, Lim & Tan Securities. Real-estate and banking sectors boosted the Philippines' benchmark index to close over 1% higher, though trading took place in low volumes. Property developer SM Prime Holdings gained 1.6%, while Bank of the Philippine Islands was up 1.7%. "Discounting the AllHome listing, the activity is low given that there is no new information from the trade talks, so it doesn't add much to the relative strength," Charles William Ang, associate analyst at COL Financial Group said. Home furnishing retailer AllHome Corp opened slightly higher in their stock market debut after a $250 million share sale excluding over-allotment option. Philippines' trade deficit narrowed to $2.41 billion in August from a deficit of $3.39 billion in July, as exports rose 0.6% year-on-year. Industrial and banking sectors weighed on the Thai index as it closed lower for a seventh session in nine. Cement maker Siam Cement lost 2.9%, while lender Central Pattana ended down 2%. Thailand's economy is not in recession but growing below potential, and the Bank of Thailand is ready to take action if needed, central bank officials said on Thursday. Stocks in Singapore, which is among the most vulnerable to the trade dispute with China being the region's biggest trading partner, ended at their lowest in nearly a week, dented by losses in industrial and real-estate sectors. For Asian Companies click; SOUTHEAST ASIAN STOCK MARKETS STOCK MARKETS Change on the day Market Current Previous Pct Move close Singapore 3089.48 3089.9 -0.01 Bangkok 1607.5 1616.18 -0.54 Manila 7765.03 7681.25 1.09 Jakarta 6023.641 6029.16 -0.09 Kuala Lumpur 1551.87 1551.23 0.04 Ho Chi Minh 987.38 987.83 -0.05 Change so far in 2019 Market Current End 2018 Pct Move Singapore 3089.48 3068.76 0.68 Bangkok 1607.5 1563.88 2.79 Manila 7765.03 7,466.02 4.00 Jakarta 6023.641 6,194.50 -2.76 Kuala Lumpur 1551.87 1690.58 -8.20 Ho Chi Minh 987.38 892.54 10.63 (Reporting by Soumyajit Saha in Bengaluru)