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SE Asia Stocks-Most fall on fears of second wave of virus infections

SE Asia Stocks-Most fall on fears of second wave of virus infections

Thursday, May 14, 2020, 11:35 GMT+7
SE Asia Stocks-Most fall on fears of second wave of virus infections
A woman works at Maxport garment company in Hanoi, Vietnam May 15, 2019. Photo: Reuters

Most Southeast Asian stock markets slid on Wednesday, with Indonesia dropping the most, on worries that lifting coronavirus lockdowns could lead to a second wave of infections, delaying an economic recovery.       

Wall Street tumbled overnight after the top U.S. infectious disease expert warned that a premature lifting of restrictions could lead to additional outbreaks of the novel coronavirus.      

Stocks in Southeast Asia's biggest economy, Indonesia, shed 0.9% on Wednesday and were on course for a second straight session of losses, dragged down by the financial sector.    

Mandala Multifinance TBK dropped 6.7%, while Asuransi Bintang TBK gave off 6.7%.     

Equities globally had drawn some comfort in the past few sessions from plans to gradually ease coronavirus-induced restrictions, which have halted economic activity. 

However, a jump in new cases in China and South Korea has dampened optimism.           

Vietnam's index dropped as much as 2.4% earlier in the day, having gained for the past six sessions.    

The State Bank of Vietnam said late on Tuesday it will cut its policy rates, making a second cut in less than two months to prop up an economy hit by the pandemic.     

"Although life in the country appears to be slowly returning to normal after the lockdown came to an end late last month, a slump in exports will hit the trade-dependent economy hard this year," Capital Economics' analyst Gareth Leather said in a note.      

FPT Corp tumbled 10.2% and was the biggest drag on the benchmark, while Ben Thanh Trading & Service lost 7%.     

Philippine stocks were also lower after the government said the economy's contraction this year could be greater than earlier predicted.     

Bucking the trend, Malaysian equities jumped nearly 1%, as healthcare stocks soared, benefiting from a rise in demand for medical supplies due to the pandemic.     

World's biggest medical gloves maker Top Glove Corp Bhd soared 12.5%, while peer Hartalega Holdings surged 18.2%.

Reuters

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