SE Asia Stocks-Singapore, Thailand jump 1% as new virus cases fall; Malaysia down

By Arundhati Dutta

* Malaysia Q4 GDP growth slows to decade-low * Indonesia hits over 1-wk low * Singapore leads gainers, up over 1.4% By Arundhati Dutta Feb 12 (Reuters) - Singapore and Thailand stocks rose over 1% on Wednesday on hopes that the worst of the coronavirus outbreak in China might be over, while Malaysia shares fell as data showed its fourth-quarter economic growth had slumped to a decade-low. China reported the lowest number of new virus cases since late January on Wednesday, supporting the country's senior medical advisor's prediction that the epidemic would be over by April. Singaporean shares closed 1.5% higher, with heavyweight financial stocks United Overseas Bank and DBS Group Holdings gaining more than 1%. Malaysian equities slipped 0.6% after data showed southeast Asia's third-largest economy grew 3.6% in October-December from the same period a year earlier, prompting the central bank to signal 'ample room' for rate cuts. Financials were top losers, with Hong Leong Bank and Public Bank shedding 4.3% and 2.8%, respectively. Malaysia's lacklustre GDP data and Singapore's collapsing tourist numbers have increased the odds of monetary easing by the countries' central banks, said Jeffrey Halley, market analyst at OANDA, in a note. Singapore expects visitor numbers to decline by about 25-30% this year due to the virus outbreak, the city state's tourism board said on Tuesday. Indonesian stocks dropped 0.7%, hitting its lowest level in about one week, weighed down by consumer stocks. Instant noodles maker PT Indofood CBP Sukses Makmur Tbk tumbled 6%. The country's health minister asserted on Tuesday that Indonesia was not hiding anything over coronavirus, after U.S. researchers said that infections may have gone undetected in Southeast Asia's biggest economy. Indonesia remains the only country in Southeast Asia with no confirmed virus cases, despite having had direct flights to Wuhan, the epicentre of the virus. The Thai index ended 1% higher, marking its best day in a week, lifted by financial companies. The Siam Commercial Bank and Kasikornbank were up 4.6% and 1.8%, respectively. Philippines closed 0.8% lower, while Vietnam ended up 0.3%. For Asian Companies click; SOUTHEAST ASIAN STOCK MARKETS STOCK MARKETS Change on the day Market Current Previous close Pct Move Singapore 3223.37 3175.57 1.51 Bangkok 1539.84 1523.93 1.04 Manila 7383.1 7439.4 -0.76 Jakarta 5913.081 5954.397 -0.69 Kuala Lumpur 1542.94 1551.48 -0.55 Ho Chi Minh 937.68 934.67 0.32 Change so far in 2020 Market Current End 2019 Pct Move Singapore 3223.37 3222.83 0.02 Bangkok 1539.84 1579.84 -2.53 Manila 7383.1 7,815.26 -5.53 Jakarta 5913.081 6,299.54 -6.13 Kuala Lumpur 1542.94 1588.76 -2.88 Ho Chi Minh 937.68 960.99 -2.43 (Reporting by Arundhati Dutta; Editing by Amy Caren Daniel)