SE Asia Stocks-Most finish week on a high note on hopes of further stimulus

By Arpit Nayak

* Malaysia launches $58.3 billion stimulus package * Philippines sees best week in 11 years * Singapore clocks biggest weekly gain in nearly four years By Arpit Nayak March 27 (Reuters) - Most Southeast Asian stock markets rose on Friday on expectations of further stimulus to counter the economic blow from the coronavirus outbreak, especially after data showed a surge in U.S. unemployment filings. The number of Americans filing claims for unemployment benefits jumped to 3.28 million last week as state-wide lockdowns brought the U.S. economy to a halt and unleashed a wave of layoffs. Investors are now waiting for a $2 trillion stimulus package that the U.S. House of Representatives is set to pass on Friday. "Renewed hopes of the $2 trillion fiscal support from the U.S. reaching the economy in a timelier manner... helped to break the recent fall for the market," Jingyi Pan, a market strategist at IG, said in a note. "The market has clearly taken to the 3.28 million jobless claims as an indication that the U.S. administration could speed up the reach of this aid to Americans." Across the region, governments stepped up efforts to support their economies against the financial impact of the virus that has infected more than half a million across the world. Indonesian stocks climbed 4.8% after the government said on Thursday it was preparing to expand fiscal stimulus. For the week, the index clocked its biggest percentage gain since October 2015. Singaporean shares ended 1.7% higher after the city-state said it was prepared to extend more support, a day after it unveiled new measures worth more than $30 billion. The index saw its best week in almost four years. Malaysia rose 1.1% on plans to launch a stimulus package worth about $58.3 billion. Thai stocks added 0.7% boosted by government plans for a "big scheme" of stimulus. Vietnam's index eked out meagre gains after data showed first quarter economic growth had slowed from a year earlier. The country also planned to limit domestic flights and curb public gatherings for two weeks from Saturday in an effort to contain the virus' spread. Philippines shed 2.5%, but still clocked its biggest weekly gains in 11 years. For Asian Companies click; SOUTHEAST ASIAN STOCK MARKETS Change on the day Market Current Previous Pct Move close Singapore 2,528.76 2,487.56 1.66 Bangkok 1,099.76 1,091.96 0.71 Manila 5,266.62 5,401.58 -2.50 Jakarta 4,545.571 4,338.904 4.76 Kuala Lumpur 1,343.09 1,328.09 1.13 Ho Chi Minh 696.06 694.21 0.27 Change so far in 2020 Market Current End 2019 Pct Move Singapore 2,528.76 3,222.83 -21.54 Bangkok 1,099.76 1,579.84 -30.39 Manila 5,266.62 7,815.26 -32.61 Jakarta 4,545.571 6,299.54 -27.84 Kuala Lumpur 1,343.09 1,588.76 -15.46 Ho Chi Minh 696.06 960.99 -27.57 (Reporting by Arpit Nayak; Editing by Amy Caren Daniel)