SE Asia Stocks-Philippines hits 2-week low on Jollibee Foods; most others edge higher

By Anushka Trivedi

* Philippines down for eighth straight session * Jollibee Foods slumps to near 2-year low * Singapore, Thai shares top gainers By Anushka Trivedi July 25 (Reuters) - Philippine shares hit a two-week low on Thursday, dragged by sharp losses in fast-food giant Jollibee Foods Corp, while most other Southeast Asian markets inched higher ahead of a key European Central Bank meeting later in the day. Jollibee declined as much as 8%, wiping out $850 million in market value in two days after the country's largest food service network operator said it was buying loss-making U.S.-based Coffee Bean & Tea Leaf. The sharp losses underlined investors scepticism over Jollibee's foray into the U.S. market as hamburger chain Smashburger Master's performance is expected to weigh on the company's earnings, according to analysts. Jollibee acquired Smashburger last year. Shares of Jollibee, which hit their lowest in nearly two years, have lost 12.1% in the past eight sessions. The benchmark Philippine stock index slipped as much as 0.6% after a 1% drop in the previous session. Among other Southeast Asian markets, Singapore and Thailand firmed 0.3% and 0.2%, respectively, while Indonesia edged higher. This comes as soft economic data cemented case for monetary action by the ECB. The euro zone reported weaker-than-expected data for business activity in July, with manufacturing and foreign trade, considered the engine of recent economic growth, contracting heavily. Adding to the sentiment is the upcoming U.S. Federal Reserve meeting, merely days after the ECB, where a quarter-point cut is widely expected. In Indonesia, telecom and financial stocks were among the top gainers, with state-owned network services provider PT Telekomunikasi Indonesia (Persero) Tbk and lender Bank Rakyat Indonesia (Persero) Tbk PT rising 0.7% each. The country's planning ministry on Wednesday revealed plans to lift its economic growth to an average of 6% annually during President Joko Widodo's second term in office by attracting more investment in the infrastructure sector. For Asian Companies click; SOUTHEAST ASIAN STOCK MARKETS AS AT 0421 GMT Market Current Previous close Pct Move Singapore 3376.88 3368.44 0.25 Bangkok 1729.19 1725.44 0.22 Manila 8158.94 8161.49 -0.03 Jakarta 6397.362 6384.987 0.19 Kuala Lumpur 1651.42 1652.41 -0.06 Ho Chi Minh 994.27 988.41 0.59 Change so far in 2019 Market Current End 2018 Pct Move Singapore 3376.88 3068.76 10.04 Bangkok 1729.19 1563.88 10.57 Manila 8158.94 7,466.02 9.28 Jakarta 6397.362 6,194.50 3.27 Kuala Lumpur 1651.42 1690.58 -2.32 Ho Chi Minh 994.27 892.54 11.40 (Reporting by Anushka Trivedi in Bengaluru; Editing by Subhranshu Sahu)