Flat to higher on prospects of better global economic growth

JAKARTA: Southeast Asian stock markets ended flat to higher on Tuesday  on optimism over prospects of better global economic growth while investors shrugged off weaker-than-expected trade data from China.
Ratings agency Fitch raised its 2017 world GDP growth forecast to 3 percent from 2.9 percent in June, with the revisions led by emerging markets and China in particular.     "I guess it (Fitch's outlook lift) boosted confidence in the markets," said Lexter Azurin, a senior analyst with Manila-based AB Capital Securities.
That provided some cheer on a day when China's July exports and imports both rose much less than expected, breaking a run of better numbers from the Asian giant that had fuelled optimism on global growth and a rally in industrial commodity prices.
In Southeast Asia, Indonesian shares recovered from three sessions of falls to end 1.1 percent higher, logging their best day in a month. Gains were led by financials and consumer staples.
Thai shares ended up 0.2 percent, supported by financials. Siam Commercial Bank PCL gained 1.1 percent, while Kasikornbank PCL closed 2.4 percent higher.
Investors are beginning to take bets on key financials which fell in the past couple of weeks following disappointing earnings, said Rakpong Chaisuparakul, a strategist with KGI
Securities Thailand.
Philippine shares closed marginally lower, snapping three straight sessions of gains, after trading in positive territory for most parts of the day.
Utilities and consumer staples led the decline with Aboitiz Equity Ventures Inc closing 3.1 percent lower.
The Philippines followed the U.S. market after the Dow  went up last night to reach a record high, said Azurin, adding that the drop during the pre-closure was due to last-minute selling.