Most South-east Asian stocks slipped on Monday as risk appetite took a hit from threats posed by a global cyber attack and a missile test by North Korea, although Singapore defied the trend to scale a fresh 21-month peak. Asian governments and businesses reported some disruptions from the WannaCry ransomware worm on Monday but cybersecurity experts warned of a wider impact.
“Expectations are that the ransomware is likely to continue to claim more victims as Asia returns to a new work week on Monday,” United Overseas Bank said in a note. Meanwhile, a fresh missile test by North Korea exacerbated the nervousness in markets. North Korea confirmed on Monday it had successfully tested a newly developed mid-to-long range missile on Sunday aimed at verifying its capability to carry a “large scale heavy nuclear warhead.”
The Thai index led the losses in the region, falling for a sixth straight session, as consumer staples and industrial shares declined. The index dropped as much as 0.6 percent to hit its lowest in two months. Hypermarket retail chain Big C Supercenter Pcl hit a one-week low after reporting a decline in quarterly revenue on Friday. Indonesian shares lost as much as 0.3 percent, with consumer and telecom shares driving the losses.
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Telekomunikasi Indonesia (Persero) Tbk PT was down 0.7 percent. Philippine stocks drifted lower, dragged down by telecom and financial stocks, while Vietnam shares lost as much as 0.2 percent. Singapore added as much as 0.6 percent to hit its highest since July 2015, as strong corporate earnings continued to encourage investors.
Casino operator Genting Singapore Plc was the best performer, jumping as much as 7.9 percent to hit its highest in more than two years. The company reported on Friday a surge in quarterly profit. Commodity trader Olam International Ltd climbed to a two-month high after it reported a 26.6 percent rise in its first-quarter profit, helped by growth in its edible nuts, spices and vegetable ingredients segment.