JAKARTA: Most Southeast Asian stock markets closed higher on Thursday as investors grew more confident about China, with Singapore bouncing back from its previous session's losses to post its highest close in 15 months on the back of strong corporate earnings.
A rally in commodity prices in recent weeks led by copper and iron ore along with gentle policy tightening by Beijing via money market rates, had led to a more optimistic view of Chinese corporate earnings, analysts said.
Earnings growth for MSCI China is expected at nearly 15 percent over the next 12 months, slightly ahead of 13 percent projected for companies in MSCI Asia outside Japan, according to
Thomson Reuters data.
"Developed markets are looking better, China has stabilised," said Linus Loo, head of research at Lim & Tan Securities.
Singapore shares closed at their highest level since October 2015 with telecoms and industrials driving the gains. Singapore Telecommunications Ltd rose 1 percent on
the back of strong quarterly earnings. Singapore Technologies Engineering Ltd and
Singapore Airlines Ltd were among the biggest gainers, rising 1 percent and 1.4 percent, respectively. Singapore Airlines announced a $13.8 billion order to buy 39 Boeing wide-body aircraft.
Philippine shares rose for the first time in three sessions on the back of gains in financial and telecom stocks. After market hours, the Philippine central bank kept its benchmark interest rate unchanged at 3 percent, with inflation edging up but expected to remain within its comfort zone for sometime.
PLDT Inc rose 4.4 percent, while Ayala Corp gained 1.2 percent.
Indonesian shares closed slightly higher, helped by financial stocks, while Thailand fell 0.4 percent with financials being the biggest losers.