SE Asia Stocks-Most rise after U.S. Fed cuts rates; Singapore leads gains

By Anushka Trivedi

* Fed trims rate by 25 bps * Singapore hits near 3-month high * Indonesian shares drop on utility, telecom stocks By Anushka Trivedi Oct 31 (Reuters) - Most Southeast Asian stock markets rose on Thursday, with Singapore leading gains, after the U.S. central bank delivered an expected quarter-point rate-cut to support economic growth. The U.S. Federal Reserve on Wednesday eased policy for the third time this year, but hinted there would be no further cuts unless the economy takes a turn for the worse. However, due to mounting geopolitical and trade tensions, the futures markets are already pricing in 25-50 bps cuts by mid 2020, and the Fed's move is seen as "not quite so much a 'hawkish cut' as it may be a 'dovish pause'", Mizuho analysts said in a note. Singapore shares advanced 0.6% to their highest in nearly three months, buoyed by financial stocks. The index is on track to add 3.4% for the month. The city-state's central bank said its economy will struggle next year as slowing growth in China and Sino-U.S. trade tensions choke investments, but growth in domestic financial and retail sectors should help offset a slowdown in high-tech manufacturing, it added. DBS Group Holdings Ltd and United Overseas Bank Ltd climbed over 1% each. Thai benchmark rose 0.4%, helped by financial and utility stocks. Siam Commercial Bank PCL was up 2.2%, while Energy Absolute jumped as much as 3.6%. Malaysian shares advanced 0.3% to their highest in four weeks as banking stocks gained. Meanwhile, Indonesian shares slipped 0.6% as telecoms and utility stocks dragged. Heavyweight Telekomunikasi Indonesia (Persero) Tbk PT lost 2.6%, while natural gas distributor Perusahaan Gas Negara Tbk PT dropped 7.8%. A local news report said that government blocked PGAS's plans to raise gas prices November 1 onwards. Philippine stocks dipped, with financials dominating losses on the benchmark. The index is on track to rise 2.9% this month. Property developer Ayala Land Inc shed 1% while Bank of the Philippine Islands fell 2.9%. Elsewhere, data showed that factory activity in China, Southeast Asia's biggest trade partner, shrank for the sixth straight month in October, pointing to further pressure on its manufacturers as they grapple with weakest growth in nearly 30 years. For Asian Companies click; SOUTHEAST ASIAN STOCK MARKETS Change on the day Market Current Previous close Pct Move Singapore 3227.35 3207.92 0.61 Bangkok 1608.4 1601.83 0.41 Manila 7984.05 8020.06 -0.45 Jakarta 6257.907 6295.747 -0.60 Kuala Lumpur 1585.33 1580 0.34 Ho Chi Minh 1001.01 1000.89 0.01 Change so far in 2019 Market Current End 2018 Pct Move Singapore 3227.35 3068.76 5.17 Bangkok 1608.4 1563.88 2.85 Manila 7984.05 7,466.02 6.94 Jakarta 6257.907 6,194.50 1.02 Kuala Lumpur 1585.33 1690.58 -6.23 Ho Chi Minh 1001.01 892.54 12.15 (Reporting by Anushka Trivedi in Bengaluru; editing by Uttaresh.V)