SE Asia Stocks-Fall on weak Chinese data, trade deal concerns

    * Singapore shares on track for third straight session of
    * Philippine stocks hit over 1-month low 

    By Shriya Ramakrishnan
    Feb 28 (Reuters) - Southeast Asian stock markets fell on
Thursday, with  Philippines taking the biggest hit, as sluggish
Chinese factory data and cautious remarks from the U.S. front on
trade deal progress with China dampened the sentiment. 
    Data released in early trading hours showed that factory
activity in China - the region's largest trading partner -
shrank for the third straight month in February, highlighting
deepening fears of a sharp slowdown and weakening demand in the
world's second largest economy.
    Denting some of the recent optimism after the announcement
of a delay in tariff hikes on Chinese goods, U.S. Trade
Representative Robert Lighthizer said on Wednesday that U.S.
issues with China are "too serious" to be resolved with promises
of additional purchase and that it was too early to predict the
outcome of ongoing trade talks with Beijing.
    "The preference for the U.S. to maintain the threat of
tariffs for years suggests that the tension will not go away
even though the U.S. and China may reach a trade deal in the
near term," OCBC Bank said in a note.
    Leading declines in the region, Philippine stocks
fell 1.5 percent to their lowest level since Jan 9. The
benchmark was on track to post a loss of 2.9 percent for the
month, with most major sectors in the red. 
    Shares of lender BDO Unibank Inc shed 3.7 percent,
while SM Investments Corp, the biggest listed firm by
market value, lost 2.1 percent.
    The Indonesian benchmark slid 1.2 percent, weighed
down by losses in telecom and consumer stocks, with Smartfren
Telecom Tbk PT trading 6 percent lower and
conglomerate Astra International Tbk PT declining
nearly 4 percent.
    Singapore shares, which are heavily influenced by any
development in the Sino-U.S. tariff front due to its high trade
exposure, fell about 0.6 percent, dragged by losses in the
industrial and financial stocks.
    While the index is on track to post a monthly gain of 1.3
percent in February, it was poised to fall for the third
straight day.
    Vietnam's index, which has outperformed most of their
Southeast Asian peers this month also fell 0.4 percent, pulled
down by industrial and financial stocks. 
    The Malaysian index traded slightly lower, while the
Thai benchmark were largely flat. 
For Asian Companies click;  
 STOCK MARKETS                                
 Change on the day                            
 Market             Current   Previous close  Pct Move
 Singapore          3232.34   3250.02         -0.54
 Bangkok            1664.16   1665.27         -0.07
 Manila             7772.64   7889.12         -1.48
 Jakarta            6446.271  6525.683        -1.22
 Kuala Lumpur       1710.02   1713.45         -0.20
 Ho Chi Minh        986.19    990.27          -0.41
 Change on year                               
 Market             Current   End 2018        Pct Move
 Singapore          3232.34   3068.76         5.33
 Bangkok            1664.16   1563.88         6.41
 Manila             7772.64   7466.02         4.11
 Jakarta            6446.271  6194.498        4.06
 Kuala Lumpur       1710.02   1690.58         1.15
 Ho Chi Minh        986.19    892.54          10.49

 (Reporting by Shriya Ramakrishnan in Bengaluru)


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