SE Asia Stocks-Markets tepid as trade optimism ebbs; Indonesia ticks up
By Sameer Manekar
Oct 17 (Reuters) - Most Southeast Asian stock markets were tepid on Thursday as hopes of a Sino-U.S. trade deal waned amid a lack of concrete details, while the Indonesian index extended gains ahead of President Joko Widodo's cabinet formation due this weekend.
U.S. Treasury Secretary Steven Mnuchin said that U.S. and Chinese negotiators were working on finalising a Phase 1 trade deal for the Chinese and U.S. presidents to sign next month, but said that there were no plans for another high-level meeting on the trade deal outlined last week.
"Even if a deal is signed, it remains uncertain if the obligations can be fully met on both sides. This could lead to further ups and downs in trade negotiations, and jeopardize the limited agreement that has been reached," analysts at DBS said in a note.
The Indonesian index .JKSE was poised to close firmer for a fifth session, lifted by the consumer sector, with food processor Indofood Sukses Makmur INDF.JK and Unilever Indonesia Tbk PT UNVR.JK rising 1% and 0.9%, respectively.
Widodo is expected to be sworn in as the Indonesian President on Oct. 20 after winning a second term in national elections in April.
"The fact that the finance minister Sri Mulyani Indrawati is going to be sitting as the cabinet member has spurred positive sentiment that President Joko Widodo will be engaged and focused on economic reforms and growth," Taye Shim, head of research at Mirae Asset Sekuritas said.
Singapore stocks .STI dropped after data showed that the city-state's non-oil domestic exports shrank for a seventh straight month in September, while their electronic shipments continued to slide.
Industrials and telecommunication sectors were the biggest drags in the index, with Yangzijian Shipbuilding Holdings YAZG.SI and Singapore Telecommunications STEL.SI shedding 2.1% and 0.3%, respectively.
The Philippine benchmark index .PSI retreated from a nearly four-week high hit in the previous session. Industrials and financials led declines in the local benchmark, with index heavyweight Ayala Corp AC.PS dropping 1.5%.
The Vietnam index VNI dipped 0.3%, while Thai stocks .SETI were trading flat.
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(Reporting by Sameer Manekar in Bengaluru, Editing by Sherry Jacob-Phillips)