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SE Asia Stocks-Most rise on China's growth data; Malaysia, Vietnam drop

* Signs of recovery in China's economy buoys sentiment

* Malaysia hits over two-year closing low

* Vietnam posts third consecutive loss

By Shreya Mariam Job

April 17 (Reuters) - Most Southeast Asian stock markets

closed higher on Wednesday, with Thailand leading gains, after

China's steadying first-quarter growth spurred hopes of recovery

amid concerns regarding the health of the global economy.

China's economy grew at a steady 6.4 percent pace in the

first quarter, defying expectations for a further slowdown, as

industrial production jumped sharply and consumer demand showed

signs of improvement.

"Today's data provides further evidence that growth has

bottomed. We expect further recovery in activity data in the

coming months and see full year growth at 6.6 percent," said

Julia Wang, a Greater China economist at HSBC.

The Thai benchmark led gains in the region with

broad-based jump across sectors. Shares of PTT PCL rose

1.6 percent, while those of Energy Absolute PCL gained

5.5 percent.

Singapore stocks pared some of its earlier gains to

rise 0.5 percent to its highest close since June 15, backed by

financial and consumer stocks.

DBS Group Holdings Ltd gained 1.2 percent, while

Jardine Cycle & Carriage Ltd rose 4.4 percent.

Meanwhile, the Malaysian bourse fell 0.5 percent to

its lowest close since Dec. 27, 2016, after FTSE flagged https://www.ftserussell.com/files/press-releases/ftse-russell-announces-results-first-fixed-income-country-classification-review

a possible exclusion of the country from its World Government

Bond Index at the end of a review period in September.

The risk of possible outflows from the country, which would

follow the exclusion from the index, dampened investor

sentiment.

Index heavyweights Malayan Banking Bhd and Tenaga

Nasional Bhd dropped 2.3 percent and 2 percent,

respectively.

The Vietnam index posted its third consecutive loss

slipping 0.5 percent, with real estate stocks dragging the

benchmark.

Indonesian stock market was closed on account of

Presidential elections.

Early results from Indonesia's election on Wednesday showed

President Joko Widodo with a comfortable lead, in line with

opinion polls that had predicted the low-key reformist was

heading for a second five-year term.

"The incumbent being re-elected will be the most favourable

outcome for investors. New policy and measurement from Prabowo

Subianto may bring uncertainty in the early stage," said Toby

Wu, senior analyst at eToro.

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SOUTHEAST ASIAN STOCK MARKETS

Change on the day

Market Current Previous close Pct Move

Singapore 3348.64 3332.04 0.50

Bangkok 1673.1 1660.45 0.76

Manila 7835.15 7826.46 0.11

Kuala Lumpur 1620.9 1629.46 -0.53

Ho Chi Minh 972.1 977.17 -0.52

Change so far in 2019

Market Current End 2018 Pct Move

Singapore 3348.64 3068.76 9.12

Bangkok 1673.1 1563.88 6.98

Manila 7835.15 7,466.02 4.94

Kuala Lumpur 1620.9 1690.58 -4.12

Ho Chi Minh 972.1 892.54 8.91

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

Aich)