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SE Asia Stocks-Most climb on trade optimism; Malaysia falls

* Malaysia posts higher-than-expected Jan trade surplus

* Vietnam, Indonesia poised for 2nd straight session of


By Shriya Ramakrishnan

March 4 (Reuters) - Most Southeast Asian stocks climbed on

Monday amid reports the United States and China were close to

striking a trade deal, while Malaysia fell despite the country

reporting a higher-than-expected trade surplus for January.

U.S. President Donald Trump and his Chinese counterpart Xi

Jingping could reach a formal trade deal at a summit around

March 27 given progress in talks between the two countries, the

Wall Street Journal reported on Sunday.

"This would be a timely shot of confidence for both China

and the U.S., especially as manufacturing sentiment in both

economies has been languishing of late," Mizuho Bank said in a


Shares across broader Asia edged higher, with MSCI's

broadest index of Asia-Pacific shares outside Japan

rising 0.1 percent for their second straight day

of gains.

Leading gains in Southeast Asia, Vietnam stocks

climbed 1.1 percent and were on track for a second straight

session of gains.

Vingroup JSC, the country's biggest-listed firm by

market value, rose 2.1 percent, while Vietnam Dairy Products JSC

advanced 0.6 percent.

The Singapore index, which is impacted by any

development on the Sino-U.S. trade front due to its high trade

exposure, gained 0.7 percent, bolstered by consumer and

financial stocks.

Indonesian shares were poised for a second straight

session of gains, buoyed by energy and consumer stocks.

Shares of clove cigarettes maker Gudang Garam Tbk PT

added 6.9 percent, while coal miner Adaro Energy Tbk

PT rose 6.1 percent.

Bucking the trend, Malaysian shares started the day

as much as 0.7 percent lower on expectations of a lower January

trade surplus.

However, data showed the country posted a better-than-

expected trade surplus of 11.5 billion ringgit ($2.83 billion)

in January, driven largely by higher shipments of manufactured

and mining goods.

Investors largely ignored the data, with the benchmark index

paring losses slightly to trade down 0.4 percent at 0409 GMT.

Philippine stocks declined as much as 0.6 percent in

early trade on continued fears of fund outflows, after index

publisher MSCI said it would increase the inclusion factor of

Chinese mainland shares in its global benchmarks. The index

pared some of the losses to trade flat by midday.

Southeast Asian markets have come under pressure since the

imposition of retaliatory tariffs by the world's two economic

giants on each other's goods, which has hurt the Chinese economy

and weakened domestic demand of the region's largest trading


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Market Current Previous close Pct Move

Singapore 3244 3220.4 0.73

Bangkok 1641.94 1641.44 0.03

Manila 7644.02 7641.77 0.03

Jakarta 6517.678 6499.884 0.27

Kuala Lumpur 1693.69 1700.76 -0.42

Ho Chi Minh 990.7 979.63 1.13

Change so far in 2019

Market Current End 2018 Pct Move

Singapore 3244 3068.76 5.71

Bangkok 1641.94 1563.88 4.99

Manila 7644.02 7,466.02 2.38

Jakarta 6517.678 6,194.50 5.22

Kuala Lumpur 1693.69 1690.58 0.18

Ho Chi Minh 990.7 892.54 11.00

($1 = 4.0720 ringgit)

($1 = 4.0700 ringgit)

(Reporting by Shriya Ramakrishnan in Bengaluru; Editing by

Shreejay Sinha)