U.S. markets closed

SE Asia Stocks-Singapore, Philippines track Wall Street lower; Malaysia rises

By Arundhati Dutta

* Malaysia says virus infection curve flattening * Singapore falls for second straight day By Arundhati Dutta April 2 (Reuters) - Markets in Singapore and the Philippines fell on Thursday, tracking their peers in the United States on persisting fears about the coronavirus' spread and a recession, while Malaysian shares rose on reports of a slowing rate of new infections. Wall Street slumped overnight after U.S. President Donald Trump warned Americans of a "painful" two weeks ahead, with a mounting death toll in the country that could stretch into the hundreds of thousands. "Difficult days are ahead for our nation," Trump told reporters at the White House on Wednesday. "We're going to have a couple of weeks, starting pretty much now, but especially a few days from now, that are going to be horrific." In Singapore, the benchmark index fell for a second straight day, losing up to 2%. Heavyweight financials United Overseas Bank Ltd and DBS Group Holdings Ltd shed as much as 2.5% and 1.8%, respectively. The city-state reported 74 new cases on Wednesday, bringing the total tally to 1,000. Philippine shares lost up to 2.8%, with index heavyweights SM Investments and Ayala Land slipping as much as 3.3% and 2.9%, respectively. However, hopes of a re-emerging China have kept heavy losses at bay for regional markets, according to Jeffrey Halley, market analyst at OANDA. China's factory activity improved in March after plunging a month earlier, a private survey showed on Wednesday. Malaysian equities climbed as much as 0.7%, with big cap electricity utility co Tenaga Nasional rising 0.5%. The rate of new infections in Malaysia appears to be slowing amid month-long curbs on movement, a senior health official said on Wednesday. Thai stocks gained as much as 1% as energy shares rallied, while sector leaders PTT Pcl and PTT Exploration and Production also aided the index. Vietnamese markets were closed for a holiday. For Asian Companies click; SOUTHEAST ASIAN STOCK MARKETS AS AT 0358 GMT STOCK MARKETS Change on the day Market Current Previous Pct Move close Singapore 2419.77 2440.27 -0.84 Bangkok 1114.9 1105.51 0.85 Manila 5262.17 5408.52 -2.71 Jakarta 4473.769 4466.037 0.17 Kuala Lumpur 1331.63 1322.66 0.68 Change so far in 2020 Market Current End 2019 Pct Move Singapore 2419.77 3222.83 -24.92 Bangkok 1114.9 1579.84 -29.43 Manila 5262.17 7,815.26 -32.67 Jakarta 4473.769 6,299.54 -28.98 Kuala Lumpur 1331.63 1588.76 -16.18 (Reporting by Arundhati Dutta; editing by Uttaresh.V)