Most Southeast Asian stock markets posted lacklustre performances on Thursday as weak economic data in the United States heightened concerns of a global economic slowdown, while Vietnam shares closed at a five-week high on real estate boost.
Data showed that the U.S. trade deficit jumped in May and Sino-U.S. trade tensions helped drive activity in the services sector to a two-year low in June, while private employers added fewer-than-expected jobs to their payrolls.
Thai shares, the biggest laggards in the region, shed early gains to drop 0.8% towards close.
"It should be profit-taking in the power sector," said Saharat Chudsuwan, Head of Marketing & Wealth Advisory for Mutual & Private Funds at Tisco Asset Management Co, Ltd. Shares in utility companies Energy Absolute PCL slumped 2.7%, while Banpu Power PCL shed 4.8%.
Investors locked in profits after the index saw solid gains last month - its best monthly gain since September 2013. The bourse rose about 11% so far this year, leading the gains in the region.
Malaysian stocks ended lower after data showed the country's exports grew 2.5% in May from a year earlier, but below the 3.6% expansion forecast by economists in a Reuters poll.
However, the export growth was better than a consensus median of 2.2%, with a strong performance from electronics, chemicals and machinery exports, said Prakash Sakpal, economist for Asia at ING, in a note.
Malaysia's electronics and electrical exports "represent a significant outperformance in the face of the ongoing electronics export weakness observed elsewhere in the region reflecting the global tech slump," ING's note read.
Bucking the trend, Vietnamese stocks ended up 1.3% at their highest close since May 27. Joint Stock Commercial Bank for Foreign Trade of Vietnam closed 4.2% firmer, while Vinhomes JSC ended up 3.7%.
Indonesian stocks ended firmer, with top boost Adaro Energy Tbk closing 4.4% higher.
Singapore's index rebounded to end a tick higher after two tepid sessions.