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SE Asia Stocks-Rise, most log weekly gains as U.S. plans to reopen economy

SE Asia Stocks-Rise, most log weekly gains as U.S. plans to reopen economy

Saturday, April 18, 2020, 09:11 GMT+7
SE Asia Stocks-Rise, most log weekly gains as U.S. plans to reopen economy
People wear protective masks to protect themselves against coronavirus while driving along Long Bien Bridge in Hanoi, Vietnam March 16, 2020. Photo: Reuters

Southeast Asian stock markets closed up on Friday and all bar one logged weekly gains, as reports emerged that U.S. President Donald Trump was planning to gradually reopen the country's economy.      

Reports that patients with severe COVID-19 symptoms had responded positively to a drug made by U.S. company Gilead Sciences also helped boost investor sentiment       

Markets appeared to shrug off data showing that China's economy shrank in the March quarter for the first time on record, although the country expects performance in the second quarter to be much better as pent up demand is unleashed.       

"A potential treatment for COVID-19 that is a proven compound and available immediately is clearly the bigger story and rightly so," said Jeffrey Halley, market analyst at OANDA, in a note.      

Leading gains, the Philippines index rebounded from steep falls in the previous session and closed up 4.8 percent.      

Heavyweight conglomerates SM Investments and Ayala Land each advanced nearly five percent.      

The Philippine central bank cut its benchmark interest rate by 50 basis points on Thursday after market close in an off-cycle move to support its virus-hit economy.     

Indonesian stocks ended 3.4 percent higher, with financials boosting the benchmark. 

PT Bank Central Asia Tbk and PT Bank Rakyat Indonesia (Persero) Tbk gained 3.5 percent and 8.4 percent, respectively. 

However, the index was the region's sole weekly loser.      

Malaysian equities closed up 1.5 percent, and had their best week since October 2015.      

The Thai index jumped 3.3 percent, underpinned by gains in industrials. Airports of Thailand added over eight percent.      

Shares in Vietnam climbed 1.1 percent, with gains led by the consumer staples.      

Shares in Singapore were subdued during the session but posted gains for the week.   

Reuters

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