SE Asia Stocks-Most rise as new virus cases slow; Thailand falls

By Arundhati Dutta

* Indonesia Dec retail sales fall 0.5% y/y * Malaysia trade deficit narrows to 6-month low in Dec * Singapore visitor numbers to drop by 25-30% in 2020 By Arundhati Dutta Feb 11 (Reuters) - Most Southeast Asian stock markets rose on Tuesday as the number of new coronavirus cases slowed in China, but a rising death toll prompted concerns over how soon Chinese factories could return to work and kept gains in check. The death toll from the coronavirus outbreak in China soared past 1000 on Tuesday and the number of confirmed cases on the mainland was 2,478 on Monday, down from 3,062 the previous day, bringing the total to 42,638. "While some factories are targeted to resume production this week, it could be challenging as the increasing municipal lockdowns hinder migrant workers from returning to work," said Nathan Chow, economist at DBS Group Research, in a note. Factory closures will be disruptive for China's trade, which had "begun showing signs of recovery in December", Chow said. Singapore stocks closed 0.4% higher, after rising as much as 1% earlier in the session. Heavyweight financial stocks DBS Group Holdings gained 1% and United Overseas Bank rose 1.7%. The city-state expects visitor numbers to drop by 25-30% this year due to the virus outbreak, with a significant decline in Chinese travel, its tourism board said on Tuesday. Indonesian shares gave up early gains to end flat. The country's retail sales contracted 0.5% in December from a year earlier, despite year-end festivities, according to a central bank survey released on Tuesday. The Philippine index closed slightly higher, lifted by gains in big caps Globe Telecom and GT Capital Holdings. Government data showed that Philippines' trade deficit had narrowed to its lowest in six months in December due to a surge in exports. Malaysian stocks added 0.6%, aided by shares of blue chip companies Tenaga Nasional and Petronas Chemicals Group . Bucking the trend, the Thai index fell 0.7%, which marked its worst day in a week. The world's second largest sugar exporter could see its 2019-20 sugar production fall to between 8 million - 9 million tonnes due to drought, industry executives said on Tuesday. For Asian Companies click; SOUTHEAST ASIAN STOCK MARKETS STOCK MARKETS Change on the day Market Current Previous close Pct Move Singapore 3175.57 3163.15 0.39 Bangkok 1523.93 1535.24 -0.74 Manila 7439.4 7430.86 0.11 Jakarta 5954.397 5952.083 0.04 Kuala Lumpur 1551.48 1542.8 0.56 Ho Chi Minh 934.67 930.73 0.42 Change so far in 2020 Market Current End 2019 Pct Move Singapore 3175.57 3222.83 -1.47 Bangkok 1523.93 1579.84 -3.54 Manila 7439.4 7,815.26 -4.81 Jakarta 5954.397 6,299.54 -5.48 Kuala Lumpur 1551.48 1588.76 -2.35 Ho Chi Minh 934.67 960.99 -2.74 (Reporting by Arundhati Dutta; Editing by Amy Caren Daniel)