EMERGING MARKETS-Philippine shares trail as vaccine hopes lift Asia
By Shashwat Awasthi
July 21 (Reuters) - Philippine stocks slipped on Tuesday as a surge in local coronavirus cases gnawed at investor sentiment, while most other emerging Asian markets found support from promising data for three potential COVID-19 vaccines.
Indonesian and Thai stocks .JKSE, .SETI rebounded after Monday's drop, adding roughly 1% each, with the flood of capital searching for higher yields globally overcoming fears about rising coronavirus infections and political uncertainty in Bangkok.
Hopes that the early print from the vaccine trials meant an effective tool against the virus was on the way, and news of a European deal on a massive stimulus plan, led dealers away from the U.S. dollar towards perceived riskier assets.
Taiwan's dollar TWD=TP and South Korea's won KRW=KFTC outshone peers, their respective share markets .TWII, .KS11 climbed 2% and 1.5%, and other assets across most of the region traded higher.
Stocks in Singapore .STI rose half a percent after three straight sessions of losses.
Manila's benchmark share index .PSI missed out on broader gains after the country on Monday reported more than a thousand new coronavirus infections for a fifth straight day.
The index, which has already shed more than a fifth of its value so far this year, gave up as much as 0.8%. The peso PHP= was roughly unchanged.
"The market is still weak despite the government's announcement today that it is not keen on imposing stricter quarantine measures in the capital and upbeat sentiment from vaccine prospects and stimulus across Asia," said Jennifer Mae V. Lomboy, a fixed income fund manager at First Metro Asset Management.
Investors were likely to remain on the sidelines ahead of next Monday's State of the Nation address by President Rodrigo Duterte, she said.
In Thailand, Labour Minister Chatumongol Sonakul on Monday became the sixth minister to quit Prime Minister Prayuth Chan-ocha's government since last week, while protests against the government and the army ramped up.
Maybank analysts said these developments may continue to pose drags on the baht, and suggested a recovery in the currency may be constrained for now.
The baht THB= still snapped a three-day losing streak to rise 0.3%.
** Malaysia's 10-year benchmark yield is down 1.3 basis points at 2.732%
** Top gainers on Thailand's SETI .SETI include Thai Film Industries TFI.BK up 20%, TWZ Corporation TWZ.BK up 16.67% and B-52 Capital PCL B52.BK up 12.5%
** Top gainers on the Jakarta stock index .JKSE include Indofarma Tbk INAF.JK up 23.65%, Kimia Farma Tbk KAEF.JK up 23.64% and Pelat Timah Nusantara Tbk NIKL.JK up 18.18%
Asia stock indexes and currencies at 0357 GMT
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(Reporting by Shashwat Awasthi and Pranav A K in Bengaluru; editing by Richard Pullin)
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