SE Asia Stocks-Tepid as Saudi attacks weigh; Philippines leads declines

By Rashmi Ashok

* Philippines posts worst session in 2 weeks, oil prices weigh * Singapore index down after data shows exports contract in Aug * Most in wait-and-watch mode ahead of Fed meeting By Rashmi Ashok Sept 17 (Reuters) - Most Southeast Asian markets were subdued on Tuesday, with the Philippine index posting sharp losses as soaring crude prices following attacks on Saudi Arabian facilities put pressure on the importer-nation. The attacks have halved the kingdom's oil output, creating the biggest disruption to global oil supplies in decades, denting investor sentiment in oil-importing nations of the Philippines and Indonesia. Elsewhere, investors broadly remained on the sidelines ahead of an expected interest rate cut from the U.S. Federal Reserve on Wednesday and the next round of U.S.-China trade talks on Thursday. Leading losses in the region, the Philippine stocks logged their worst session in two weeks, with heavyweights Aboitiz Power and Ayala Land slipping as much as 2.5% and 1.7%, respectively. Conglomerate SM Investments Corp, the biggest stock in the index, shed nearly 1.5%. After a bout of last-minute buying, which pushed the Philippine index higher just before session's close on Monday, stocks are now tracking regional peers lower, said Charles William Ang, associate analyst, COL Financial Group. "Given that the country is primarily an oil importer, higher oil prices were also weighing on the benchmark," he said. "The question now is, how long will the prices stay high or when will the supply normalise? Some say a few weeks, others say few months. If the market believes that oil prices will continue to spike, then a correction in the market is certainly a distinct possibility," Ang added. Singapore stocks extended losses after data showed that the country's exports shrank for a sixth straight month in August, while domestic exports of electronics slipped 25.9% from last year. While the figures were slightly better than what a Reuters poll had expected, the data failed to lift sentiment. Indonesian stocks rebounded to trade a tick higher after a nearly 2% drop in the previous session. Communication stocks helped most, with Telekomunikasi Indonesia adding nearly 1% to the index. Cigarette makers Gudang Garam and Hanjaya Mandala Sampoerna managed to claw back ground from sharp losses in the previous session after the government announced a steep price hike to minimum price of cigarettes. Vietnam stocks inched marginally higher, while the energy-heavy Thai index rose on the back of gains in oil and gas companies. For Asian Companies click; SOUTHEAST ASIAN STOCK MARKETS at 0337 GMT Change on the day Market Current Previous close Pct Move Singapore 3188.34 3203.93 -0.49 Bangkok 1668.15 1662.93 0.31 Manila 7924.73 7996.9 -0.90 Jakarta 6226.988 6219.435 0.12 Kuala Lumpur 1601.77 1601.25 0.03 Ho Chi Minh 991.64 989.86 0.18 Change so far in 2019 Market Current End 2018 Pct Move Singapore 3188.34 3068.76 3.90 Bangkok 1668.15 1563.88 6.67 Manila 7924.73 7,466.02 6.14 Jakarta 6226.988 6,194.50 0.52 Kuala Lumpur 1601.77 1690.58 -5.25 Ho Chi Minh 991.64 892.54 11.10 (Editing by Sherry Jacob-Phillips)