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Philippine shares top gainer, Vietnam stocks sink

SET drops 5.91 points

Philippine shares rallied on Thursday on expectations of positive inflation data, while stocks in technology export reliant Vietnam sank to an over one-year low after iPhone maker Apple Inc cut its sales forecast.

Apple's move to cut its quarterly sales forecast blaming slowing iPhone sales in China sent US stock futures and Asian shares tumbling, with MSCI's broadest gauge of Asia-Pacific shares outside Japan falling 0.6%.

Vietnam's index was the top loser in the region, plunging 1.5% to an over one year closing low.

"Vietnam is tightly caught up in the tech story. We are becoming a very large tech hub for a lot of the outflow from tech companies based in China," said Fiachra Mac Cana, head of research at Ho Chi Minh Securities.

Vietnam is the largest smartphone production base for South Korean mobile phone giant Samsung Electronics, while the country's largest earner from exports are smartphones.

"For us, it's like if demand for iPhones are weak, will demand for Samsung phones also be weak then? Yes, very easily.

All of that makes the Vietnamese market a complete risk off environment right now," he added.

Singapore's benchmark index also tumbled, with electronic equipment maker Venture Corp among top percentage losers, shedding 1.8%.

The Stock Exchange of Thailand index dropped 5.91 points or 0.38% to 1,560.03, in trade worth 39 billion baht.

The country's energy-heavy index see-sawed throughout the session to end lower, with energy stocks slumping in tandem with falling oil prices amid worries over lower fuel demand in 2019 and surging crude supplies.

However, defying the broader Asian downturn was Philippine's index, which soared 2.6% to close at a near one-month high, ahead of inflation data due on Friday.

A Reuters poll shows that the country's inflation is expected to cool to a six-month low in December.

"Investors were mainly concerned about inflation during 2018... so now we're seeing some buying in the index stocks as there's better expectation on earnings growth," said Rachelle C Cruz, an analyst at AP Securities.

Benchmark heavyweight SM Investments Corp's stock rose 4.6%, while that of conglomerate Aboitiz Equity Ventures Inc added 6.2%.

Malaysia's index also rose, with shares of palm oil producer Sime Darby Plantation Bhd rising 3.5% and those of lender Hong Leong Financial Group Bhd firming 3.2%.

Indonesia's benchmark edged up with household products maker Unilever Indonesia Tbk's counter notching a 2.4% gain, while animal feed producer Charoen Pokphand Indonesia Tbk rose 4%.

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