U.S. Markets closed

SE Asia Stocks-Most flat on bleak growth outlook; Singapore at 8-month high

* Forecast cut for trade and economic growth hampers

sentiment

* Malaysia posts second straight session of gains

* Philippines, Vietnam, Thai markets rangebound

By Shreya Mariam Job

April 3 (Reuters) - Most Southeast Asian markets ended flat

on Wednesday after the World Trade Organization cut its 2019

trade growth estimate and the Asian Development Bank trimmed

regional economic growth forecast, while Singapore closed at a

near eight-month high.

World trade shrank by 0.3 percent in the fourth quarter of

2018 and is likely to grow by 2.6 percent this year, below a

previous forecast of 3.7 percent, the World Trade Organization

said.

This year's growth forecast for Southeast Asia was trimmed

to 4.9 percent from an earlier estimate of 5.1 percent, as the

Manila-based lender Asian Development Bank expects Malaysia,

Singapore, Philippines and Thailand to grow slower than

previously estimated.

Singapore stocks, however, shrugged off worries of a soft

growth forecast as local lenders boosted the index by 1 percent

to its highest close since Aug. 9, 2018.

"Local catalysts for Singapore financials are the rising

SIBOR (Singapore Interbank Offered Rate) and resilient loans

growth. Both will be supportive for bank earnings this year,"

said Paul Chew, head of research, Phillip Securities Research.

Ongoing loans repricing for non-corporate loans continue as

repricing typically lags movements in SIBOR, making the banks

privy to wider margins in that period, Lim Rui Wen, an equity

research analyst in DBS Bank, said in a note.


The dividend yields of about 4.1 to 4.7 percent also

supported the valuations of the banks, the analyst added.

The city-state's top-listed lenders DBS Group Holdings

, Oversea-Chinese Banking Corp and United

Overseas Bank Ltd jumped between 1.4 percent and 2.5

percent.

Malaysian stocks ended 0.6 percent higher, posting

their second consecutive session of gains on the back of

healthcare and financials.

IHH Healthcare Bhd and Public Bank Bhd

climbed 3.3 percent and 1.3 percent, respectively.

The Indonesian stock market was closed for a

holiday, while Philippines, Vietnam and Thai

indexes were rangebound.

For Asian Companies click;

SOUTHEAST ASIAN STOCK MARKETS

Change on the day

Market Current Previous close Pct Move

Singapore 3311.27 3279.78 0.96

Bangkok 1649.06 1651.48 -0.15

Manila 7895.06 7879.21 0.20

Kuala Lumpur 1643.21 1632.83 0.64

Ho Chi Minh 984.46 985.81 -0.14

Change so far in 2019

Market Current End 2018 Pct Move

Singapore 3311.27 3068.76 7.90

Bangkok 1649.06 1563.88 5.45

Manila 7895.06 7,466.02 5.75

Kuala Lumpur 1643.21 1690.58 -2.80

Ho Chi Minh 984.46 892.54 10.30

(Reporting by Shreya Mariam Job in Bengaluru; Editing by Sherry

Jacob-Phillips)