SE Asia Stocks-Most weaken as Sino-U.S. standoff broadens

By Soumyajit Saha

* Sino-U.S. trade talks set to start on Thursday * Philippine gov signals end of rate cuts for 2019 * Singapore set to snap two sessions of gains By Soumyajit Saha Oct 9 (Reuters) - Most Southeast Asian stock markets dropped on Wednesday, as tensions between the United States and China heightened hours ahead of high-level negotiations, denting hopes of a trade deal. Washington imposed visa restrictions on Chinese government and Communist Party officials over abuses of Muslim minorities. The move came only hours after the Trump administration widened its trade blacklist to include some of China's top artificial intelligence startups. High-level talks between the world's top two economies on trade are due to resume on Thursday. The negotiations, which are the global markets' most important catalyst for months, have weighed on investor sentiment. "The movement is definitely reactionary given that there is little expectations of a deal now, and we will also have to look out for a Chinese retaliation," said Joel Ng, an analyst with KGI Securities. "I think more bad news is yet to come." Philippine stocks shed previous session's rally to drop as much as 1% after the central bank said that last month's rate cut could be the last of 2019. The biggest laggards in the index were real estate and consumer sectors. Property developer SM Prime Holdings was down 1.7%, while conglomerate SM Investments Corp fell 1%. Singapore shares were on track to snap two sessions of gains, dragged by industrial and financial sectors. Lender DBS Group Holdings was trading 0.8% down, while conglomerate Jardine Matheson Holdings lost 1.4%. Losses in the banking and healthcare sectors weighed on Malaysian stocks, with Malayan Banking falling 0.6%, while hospital operator IHH Healthcare dropped 0.7%. Bucking the sombre mood, Vietnam index traded marginally higher. For Asian Companies click; SOUTHEAST ASIAN STOCK MARKETS AS AT 0400 GMT STOCK MARKETS Change on the day Market Current Previous Pct Move close Singapore 3098.06 3110.85 -0.41 Bangkok 1607.07 1612.17 -0.32 Manila 7700.45 7756.72 -0.73 Jakarta 6033.072 6039.601 -0.11 Kuala Lumpur 1551.38 1558.79 -0.48 Ho Chi Minh 989.87 988.22 0.17 Change so far in 2019 Market Current End 2018 Pct Move Singapore 3098.06 3068.76 0.95 Bangkok 1607.07 1563.88 2.76 Manila 7700.45 7,466.02 3.14 Jakarta 6033.072 6,194.50 -2.61 Kuala Lumpur 1551.38 1690.58 -8.23 Ho Chi Minh 989.87 892.54 10.90 (Reporting by Soumyajit Saha in Bengaluru, Editing by Sherry Jacob-Phillips)