Business Recorder
Most SE Asian stocks down

Most SE Asian stocks down

SINGAPORE: Most Southeast Asian stock markets fell on Thursday tracking weak global shares on heightened concerns over the Donald Trump administration’s future following reports that the US president allegedly tried to influence a federal investigation.

The allegations have not only cast a doubt over Trump’s ability to deliver his promises of tax reforms and pro-growth policies, but have raised the possibility he could end up leaving the presidency.

A small but growing number of Trump’s fellow Republicans called on Wednesday for an independent probe of possible collusion between his 2016 campaign and Russia, and one even mentioned impeachment.

“Since obstruction of justice is considered to be an impeachable offence, I think that’s what is keeping most investors worried,” said Victor Felix, an equity analyst with AB Capital Securities.’

“The story is still developing at the US end and pretty much everyone is tracking that right now. Traders would be moving to safe-haven assets and I think we are going to continue to see selling pressure in Asian equities.”

In Asia, MSCI’s broadest index of Asia-Pacific shares outside Japan dropped 0.8 percent at one point.

Among regional markets, Philippines ended at its lowest level in two weeks, as real estate and financial stocks fell, after data showed that economy grew at its slowest pace in more than a year in the first quarter.

Ayala Land shed 2.7 percent, while BDO Unibank lost 1.4 percent.

Malaysian shares logged a third day of loss, dragged down by telecom sector. Axiata Group Bhd was the worst performer, closing 3.2 percent lower. Meanwhile, Vietnam stocks pulled back from a more than one-month high to end flat. Singapore shares also closed flat, while Thai stocks closed marginally lower.

Jakarta defied the broader trend and ended 0.5 percent higher, helped by gains in financials. Indonesia’s central bank kept its benchmark interest rate unchanged, saying its decision was consistent with its efforts to maintain stability at a time of recovery for Southeast Asia’s largest economy.—Reuters

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