Most South-east Asian stock markets rose on Friday, largely shrugging off a shockingly bad election result for British Prime Minister Theresa May that has plunged the UK into political chaos days before the start of Brexit talks. Sterling fell sharply, but with results still pointing to May’s Conservatives forming a minority government, and analysts playing up the chances of a “softer” Brexit under that or an alternative left-wing coalition under Labour leader Jeremy Corbyn, the pound steadied.
In Asia, MSCI’s broadest index of Asia-Pacific shares outside Japan was up marginally as of 0525 GMT after initially rising as much 0.3 percent. “The UK election is in line with market expectations that Theresa May will win…South-east Asian markets have already priced in the (outcome of the) elections,” said Rakpong Chaisuparakul, a strategist with KGI Securities (Thailand).
The implications of a testimony by former FBI director James Comey are more important to the region’s markets, he said. Comey has accused U.S. President Donald Trump of firing him to try to undermine the investigation into possible collusion by Trump’s campaign team with Russia’s alleged efforts to influence the 2016 election.
In Southeast Asia, Philippine shares gained as much as 0.9 percent, lifted by industrial and real estate stocks. SM Investments Corp climbed as much as 1.3 percent, while SM Prime Holdings rose 1.6 percent.
Singapore climbed as much as 0.5 percent to hit its highest in more than three weeks, driven by financials. DBS Group Holdings, the city-state’s biggest lender, climbed 1.3 percent to a one-week high, while United Overseas Bank gained 1.1 percent. Malaysian shares edged up 0.2 percent, shrugging off April factory output data that missed expectations. Thai and Indonesian shares fell marginally.