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SE Asia Stocks-Singapore drops on China virus scare, Philippines extends losses

Wednesday, January 22, 2020, 10:27 GMT+7
SE Asia Stocks-Singapore drops on China virus scare, Philippines extends losses
A woman rides a bicycle past a Stock Exchange center in Hanoi, July 21, 2015. Photo: Reuters

Singapore's benchmark index fell on Tuesday, tracking broader Asian markets, as a virus outbreak in China took a toll on risk appetite, while Philippines was hit by losses in the financial sector.

With millions travelling on Tuesday for the Lunar New Year holiday, authorities in China confirmed the virus could spread through human contact, while the World Health Organization met to consider declaring an international health emergency.

"Concerns over the spread of the virus is the predominant mover today," said Linus Loo, head of research at Lim & Tan Securities.

"Unfortunately, it's coming at a bad time, just ahead of the travel-heavy New Year week."

Losses in the banking and industrial sectors dragged down Singapore shares, with real estate developer Capitaland Ltd and conglomerate Jardine Strategic Holdings down 1.8% and 1.5% respectively.

Philippine stocks dropped to their lowest close in more than a year, hurt by heavy losses in the financial sector.

Conglomerate Ayala Corp and real estate developer Ayala Land fell 4.7% and 2.5%, respectively, while lender Bank of the Philippine Islands was down 4.2%.

Regulatory scrutiny on certain projects related to the Ayala group had led to "possible regulatory risks involved in private sector's contracts with the government," AP Securities analyst Rachelle Cruz said.

The Manila Times here on Sunday reported that President Rodrigo Duterte would review a government rail transit contract with Ayala and Metro Pacific Investment Corp.

The newspaper here also reported on Monday that a presidential spokesperson had hinted at investigations into an Ayala IT park.

Thai stocks were also lower, hurt by losses in the industrial and financial sectors.

Real estate investor Asset World Corp fell 4.1%, while airport operator Airports of Thailand PCL dropped 3%. Gains in the financial sector helped lift Vietnam shares.

Real estate developer Vinhomes JSC and lender Joint Stock Commercial Bank for Investment and Development of Vietnam were up 1.7% and 1.3% respectively.

"The index is in a rebound trend after the year-end period and recent favourable results, especially for banking sectors, further support this trend," said Trung Le, an analyst at Hanoi-based BIDV Securities Co.



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