Indonesia and Vietnam stocks rose on Wednesday as risk appetite was whetted by government measures to cushion the economic impact of the fast-spreading coronavirus, while Singapore shares slipped following sharp gains in the previous session.
The Jakarta SE Composite Index climbed as much as 2%, with financials leading the gains. PT Bank Central Asia Tbk and PT Bank Mandiri (Persero) Tbk rose more than 4% each.
Sebastian Tobing, an equity strategist with Trimegah Sekuritas Indonesia, attributed the rise to the government's stimulus measures.
President Joko Widodo declared a public health emergency over the epidemic on Tuesday and announced nearly $25 billion additional spending to counter its impact.
The central bank on Tuesday slashed its economic growth outlook for 2020 to 2.3%-2.5% from an earlier estimate of 4.2%-4.6%.
Shares in Vietnam advanced as much as 2%, with gains underpinned by financials.
Vietnam will offer 28 trillion-30 trillion dong ($1.19 billion to $1.27 billion) in cash to low-income earners hit by the pandemic, the government said on Tuesday.
Philippine stocks rose as much as 1.5%, with big cap property developer SM Prime Holdings up 5%.
On the downside, China's factory activity showed minimal growth in March after a plunge in the previous month, a private survey showed, indicating that the world's second-largest economy remains under pressure from the pandemic.
Singapore stocks lost more than 1%, dragged by blue chips Jardine Matheson Holdings and Jardine Strategic Holdings.
Malaysian equities shed up to 1.4%, with heavyweight Tenaga Nasional losing 1.8%.
Malaysia's movement restrictions have prevented major daily spikes in coronavirus infections, the government said on Tuesday, but the World Bank warned the trade-reliant country's economy would shrink this year for the first time in more than a decade.
Thai shares slipped after Tuesday's 3.5% jump, with financials leading the fall.
Thailand's cabinet agreed to triple the number of workers receiving cash handouts to nine million to help cushion the impact of the virus.