1. South-East Asia stocks-higher; Singapore hits 20-month peak as bank earnings beat

South-East Asia stocks-higher; Singapore hits 20-month peak as bank earnings beat

South-east Asian stocks rose on Tuesday taking cues from Asian peers, with Singapore surging to its highest level in 20 months buoyed by better-than-expected earnings in the banking sector.

By: | Published: May 2, 2017 12:26 PM
MSCI’s broadest index of Asia-Pacific shares outside Japan gained 0.6 percent.

South-east Asian stocks rose on Tuesday taking cues from Asian peers, with Singapore surging to its highest level in 20 months buoyed by better-than-expected earnings in the banking sector. Regional markets reopened after a long holiday weekend, with investors making bullish bets, as an overnight rally on Wall Street and easing geo-political concerns over North Korea boosted sentiment.

In Asia, MSCI’s broadest index of Asia-Pacific shares outside Japan gained 0.6 percent. Tensions over the Korean peninsula eased slightly after U.S. President Donald Trump said on Monday he would be honoured to meet North Korea’s supreme leader Kim Jong Un under the right circumstances. Singapore shares gained as much as 1.01 percent to touch their highest since Aug. 11, 2015.

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Financials led the rally, after the city-state’s biggest lender DBS Group’s quarterly profit beat market expectations. Last week, smaller peer United Overseas Bank had reported a strong quarterly profit on the back of higher net interest income and trading income. “Some of the earnings recovery stories were really intense, and we expect the index to do a lot better in the second half as well,” said Joanne Goh, equity strategist, DBS Bank Ltd.

Philippines shares were on track to post their biggest intraday percentage gain in a week, supported by consumer and real estate stocks. Property developer SM Prime Holdings was among the top performers, rising up to 2.5 percent. Malaysian stock index climbed to its highest in nearly two years. Financials and consumer stocks supported the momentum, with CIMB Group Holdings Bhd gaining as much as 3.5 percent. While Jakarta was up as much as 0.5 percent, Thai shares remained largely flat. Vietnam stock market was closed for a holiday.

(Reporting by Anusha Ravindranath in Bengaluru; Editing by Sherry Jacob-Phillips)

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