* Shares in Singapore and Vietnam edge down
* Philippine stocks top gainer in region
* Expect Philippine Dec inflation slow to 6-month low- Poll
By Rashmi Ashok
Jan 3 (Reuters) - Most Southeast Asian shares climbed on
Thursday, with Philippine markets leading gains ahead of the
release of inflation figures, while Singaporean stocks bucked
the trend to fall sharply.
Philippine stocks gained 1.04 percent, as industrial
shares SM Investments Corp and JG Summit Holdings Inc
propelled the index.
A Reuters poll shows that the country's inflation is
expected to cool to a six-month low in December, making it
likely the Philippine central bank will leave policy rates
unchanged this year.
"The investors were mainly concerned about inflation during
2018," said Rachelle Cruz an analyst at AP Securities in Manila.
"So now we're seeing some buying in the index stocks as there's
better expectation on earnings growth now, since that concern
seems to be fading," Cruz said.
Local investors appeared to be buying more because some
Philippine companies have reached "very attractive valuations,"
A surge in consumer goods stocks powered a 0.4 percent
advance in Indonesian shares.
Shares in Malaysia and Thailand also rose,
by 0.56 percent and 0.71 percent respectively.
In Kuala Lumpur tourist resort chain Genting Malaysia Berhad
added 2.7 percent and palm oil producer Sime Darby
Plantation Berhad rose 3.3 percent, while in Bangkok
energy stocks provided the biggest boost to the benchmark.
Meanwhile, Singaporean shares edged 0.81 percent
lower, with Thai Beverage PCL dropping 3.3 percent and
industrial conglomerate Jardine Strategic Holdings Ltd
losing 1.4 percent.
Vietnamese stocks also shed just above 0.8 percent,
with most major sectors in the red. Real-estate stocks like
Vinhomes JSC and Vingroup JSC, which powered a
rally on Wednesday, fell around 2 percent apiece.
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SOUTHEAST ASIAN STOCK MARKETS at 0315 GMT
Change on the day
Market Current Previous close Pct Move
Singapore 3018.83 3038.89 -0.66
Bangkok 1572.84 1565.94 0.44
Manila 7567.08 7489.2 1.04
Jakarta 6207.12 6181.175 0.42
Kuala Lumpur 1678.01 1668.11 0.59
Ho Chi Minh 884.05 891.75 -0.86
Change so far in 2019
Market Current End 2018 Pct Move
Singapore 3018.83 3068.76 -1.63
Bangkok 1572.84 1563.88 0.57
Manila 7567.08 7,466.02 1.35
Jakarta 6207.12 6,194.50 0.20
Kuala Lumpur 1678.01 1690.58 -0.74
Ho Chi Minh 884.05 892.54 -0.95
(Reporting by Rashmi Ashok in Bengaluru; Editing by Sai Sachin