Southeast Asian stock markets, except Indonesia, edged up on Thursday, as a surprise increase in Chinese factory output and upwardly revised US economic growth provided some cheer, although concerns over North Korea lingered.
Growth in China’s manufacturing sector unexpectedly accelerated in August, defying expectations that the world’s second-largest economy will start to cool as borrowing costs rise and regulators clamp down on riskier lending.
The US economy grew faster than initially thought in the second quarter, notching its quickest pace in more than two years, while private-sector employment logged its biggest monthly increase in five months, driving expectations that non-farm payrolls numbers for August, due at 1pm GMT, would be solid.
Tensions between the United States and North Korea simmered in the background after U.S. President Donald Trump dismissed any diplomatic negotiations via a tweet, a day after the reclusive state fired a ballistic missile that flew over Japan.
In Southeast Asia, the Singapore index closed at its highest in more than two weeks, supported by financial shares. Index heavyweight United Overseas Bank climbed 1.5%, while Oversea-Chinese Banking Corporation ended the day 1.7% higher.
For the month, Singapore shares fell 1.4%, snapping seven straight monthly gains to log its worst month in nine.
Vietnam finished 0.5% higher, helped by financials, with Joint Stock Commercial Bank for Investment and Development of Vietnam the biggest index gainer.
The index fell 0.1% on month, snapping three straight months of gains.
Indonesia dropped slightly, closing lower for a fourth straight session, but posted a monthly gain of 0.3%, extending gains to a seventh straight month.
Private hospital operator Mitra Keluarga Karyasehat Tbk fell more than 8%, dragging down the index.
“Indonesia is closed tomorrow; there are some data points that will be released tomorrow such as the labour report in the United States, so I think there is little bit of caution ahead of that,” said Taye Shim, head of research at Jakarta-based Mirae Asset Sekuritas.
Southeast Asian stock markets
Closed for a national holiday