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SE Asia Stocks-Most rise on hopes of U.S.-China trade deal by March 1 deadline

* Vietnam hits over 4-month high

* Indonesian c.bank holds interest rates

* Malaysia gains for fourth straight session

By Shreya Mariam Job

Feb 21 (Reuters) - Most Southeast Asian stock markets closed

higher on Thursday, with Vietnam leading gains, as progress in

Sino-U.S. trade talks raised hopes of reaching a deal by March

1, after which the United States plans to increase tariffs on

Chinese goods.

The United States and China have started to outline

commitments in principle on the stickiest issues in their trade

dispute, marking the most significant progress yet toward ending

a seven-month trade war, according to sources familiar with the


"We remain cautiously optimistic on the current Sino-U.S.

trade situation, as there is still a possibility of the talks

ending up in failure, as the March 1 deadline has not been

officially extended yet," a note from Singapore based Phillip

Futures said.

China, the region's biggest trade partner, is looking at a

25 percent tariff on $200 billion worth of goods, rising from

the current 10 percent if the world's biggest economies do not

iron out a deal by March 1.

Vietnam index rose to an over four-month closing

high, leading gains in the region with real estate stocks

boosting the index. Index heavyweights Vinhomes JSC and

Vietnam Dairy Products JSC rose 7 percent and 3.9

percent, respectively.

The Indonesian benchmark rose 0.4 percent on the

back of financial and energy stocks, with Bank Mandiri Tbk PT

rising 3.2 percent and Perusahaan Gas Negara (Persero)

Tbk PT gaining 6 percent.

Indonesia's central bank kept its benchmark interest rate

unchanged on Thursday, as expected, reiterating that its main

objective remained preserving financial stability and reducing

the current account deficit.

The Malaysian index ended 0.3 percent higher,

posting its fourth consecutive gain, with index heavyweights

Tenaga Nasional Bhd and Cimb Group Holdings Bhd

rising 0.9 percent and 1.4 percent, respectively.

Meanwhile, the Philippine benchmark slipped

marginally lower, dragged heavily by industrials. Aboitiz Equity

Ventures Inc dropped 2.3 percent, while SM Prime

Holdings Inc shed 1 percent.

"I think this is just some sort of correction in the market

because Philippines rallied yesterday. This slowdown right now

is probably due to a bit of stagnation in foreign inflows," said

Miguel Ong, an analyst at AP Securities.

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Change on the day

Market Current Previous close Pct Move

Singapore 3277.91 3278.38 -0.01

Bangkok 1647.36 1645.38 0.12

Manila 7931.3 7939.24 -0.10

Jakarta 6537.766 6512.784 0.38

Kuala Lumpur 1730.68 1726.18 0.26

Ho Chi Minh 987.57 970.58 1.75

Change so far in 2019

Market Current End 2018 Pct Move

Singapore 3277.91 3068.76 6.82

Bangkok 1647.36 1563.88 5.34

Manila 7931.3 7,466.02 6.23

Jakarta 6537.766 6,194.50 5.54

Kuala Lumpur 1730.68 1690.58 2.37

Ho Chi Minh 987.57 892.54 10.65

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