Edgy as Russia sanctions unnerve investors

JAKARTA: Most Southeast Asian stock markets were largely tepid on Thursday, as concerns over U.S. President Donald Trump signing the Russia sanctions bill kept investors on edge.
Trump grudgingly signed into law new sanctions against Russia on Wednesday, a move Moscow said amounted to a full-scale  trade war and an end to hopes for better ties with the Trumpadministration.
"I think it (Trump signing off new sanctions against Russia) is a clear indication that geopolitical risk might escalate," said Taye Shim, head of research at Jakarta-based Mirae Asset Sekuritas.
World stock markets fell, led by a tumble in tech shares as investors locked in recent gains after Wall Street's recent surge.
The overall profit-taking streak trickled down to Southeast Asia as well, with Indonesia falling the most in the region. The index closed 0.8 percent down.
Losses were led by financials and technology stocks, with Bank Central Asia Tbk PT and Indoritel Makmur Internasional Tbk PT ending 0.9 percent and 1.7 percent down, respectively.
Southeast Asia's largest economy is expected to report second quarter GDP growth data on August 7.
Expectations regarding the GDP growth are low given the fact that there are growing concerns over the purchasing power of Indonesians and the consumption recovery story, said Shim. 
An index of the country's 45 most liquid stocks declined 0.8 percent.
Singapore shares ended 0.2 percent lower, as oil and gas, and telecom stocks took a hit. 
Rig builder Sembcorp Industries lost 0.6 percent, while StarHub Ltd lost 1.1 percent after reporting a 21 percent drop in quarterly net profit on Wednesday.
Vietnam shares closed up 0.3 percent on the back of gains in financials and consumer stocks.