SE Asia Stocks-Most fall on fears of fresh escalation in U.S.-China trade war

By Nikhil Subba

* Markets on the lookout for retaliation from Beijing * Singapore tumbles 1.3% By Nikhil Subba May 13 (Reuters) - Most Southeast Asian stock markets declined on Monday as investors feared a possible retaliation by China after trade talks between Washington and Beijing failed to reach a conclusion last week. Singapore stocks led losses after trade talks hit a wall as Washington pressed hard to get China to change certain laws while Beijing remained defiant, saying it would not swallow any "bitter fruit" that harmed its interests. "The sudden, unexpected collapse ahead of the final step to ink a 150-page long trade deal caught market by surprise," OCBC analyst Tommy Xie Dongming said in a note to clients. "Markets will tread cautiously, with the market focus still be on any developing headlines about China's possible retaliatory moves and next steps for trade talks from here until Trump and Xi meet at the G20 meeting in late June," Xie Dongming added. Singapore's Straits Times index, whose stocks are most exposed to global trade in the region, tumbled as much as 1.3% to its lowest since April 1, pressured by consumer and oil stocks. DBS Group, Southeast Asia's largest lender, fell 1.7% to its lowest since April 2, while conglomerate Jardine Cycle & Carriage Ltd fell 1.4% to its lowest since April 16. Malaysian stocks fell as much as 0.4% to its lowest since January 21, 2016. The index, which has fallen 1.4% since Trump announced his tariff hike plan, was dragged by consumer cyclicals and healthcare stocks. Indonesia's benchmark, too, traded lower, with enamel kitchenware manufacturer Kedaung Indah Can falling 20% to its lowest since February 27, while Visi Telekomunikasi Infrastruktur fell 12.24% to its lowest since July 23, 2018. Meanwhile, Vietnamese stocks traded marginally higher, helped by a rally in consumer stocks. The Philippine market was closed on Monday as the archipelago nation observes a special non-working holiday to hold its midterm elections, which is largely seen as referendum on the Duterte administration. For Asian Companies click; SOUTHEAST ASIAN STOCK MARKETS AT 0431 GMT Market Current Previous Close Pct Move Singapore 3235.33 3273.5 -1.17 Bangkok 1646.09 1648.69 -0.16 Jakarta 6194.147 6209.118 -0.24 Kuala Lumpur 1604.32 1610.27 -0.37 Ho Chi Minh 956.16 952.55 0.38 Change on year Market Current End 2017 Pct Move Singapore 3235.33 3068.76 5.43 Bangkok 1646.09 1563.88 5.26 Manila 7742.2 8558.42 -9.54 Jakarta 6194.147 6194.498 -0.01 Kuala Lumpur 1604.32 1690.58 -5.10 Ho Chi Minh 956.16 984.24 -2.85 (Reporting by Nikhil Subba; editing by Uttaresh.V)