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EMERGING MARKETS-Asian stocks mixed as investors assess vaccine news; baht at 10-month high

Anushka Trivedi
·3-min read

* Graphic: Real yield of Asian bonds https://tmsnrt.rs/2GI4V8h * S. Korea stocks, won higher after export data * S. Korea's KOSPI marks highest close since May 2018 * Baht at 10-month high By Anushka Trivedi Nov 11 (Reuters) - Stock markets in Singapore, Malaysia and the Philippines declined by up to 1% on Wednesday, as this week's burst of market optimism about progress on coronavirus vaccines faded. Investors switched to discounted losers from coronavirus winners on Tuesday, fuelling a rally in travel and energy shares, after drugmakers Pfizer Inc and BioNTech SE showed a 90% success rate in preventing infection during trials. "While some concerns remain with respect to the safety and distribution of any viable COVID-19 vaccines, it appears that investors have largely adopted a wait-and-see attitude at this point," said Jingyi Pan, a Singapore-based market strategist with financial services firm IG. Other regional stock indexes also came off their highs touched since the U.S. election, although South Korea's KOSPI jumped 1.4% to mark its highest close in more than two-years. South Korea, considered a bellwether for global trade, reported a surge in 10-day exports, driven by strong semiconductor demand, helping the won advance 0.5%. The Thai baht firmed 0.8% to hit a 10-month peak as foreigners bought into the country's stocks and debt after vaccine progress boosted prospects for the economy dominated by trade and tourism. Yields on Thai sovereign bonds have been quite attractive in Asia, after those of Malaysia and Indonesia, as they benefit from the chances of a divided U.S. Congress that may result in a slimmer round of stimulus and cap long-term Treasury yields. Headway on a vaccine bodes well for the ailing Thai economy, but the pandemic will remain a key factor in determining the baht's movement in the near term, said Poon Panichpibool, a market strategist at Krung Thai Bank. "If the COVID-19 outbreak is still not under control and there's no further positive development in distribution of the vaccine, the market sentiment could shift from risk-on to risk-off, adding to the U.S. dollar's strength," he added Most other emerging Asia's currencies were rangebound against a subdued greenback, with the Taiwanese dollar again firming more than 1% to outperform its peers. HIGHLIGHTS ** Thai baht on track to advance about 2.5% since U.S. election ** Top losers on Malaysia index: IHH Healthcare, down 3.36% and Hap Seng Consolidated Bhd, down 2.93% ** Top drags on Singapore's STI: Ascendas Real Estate Investment Trust and Mapletree Industrial Trust , down 6.3% and 4.3%, respectively Asia stock indexes and currencies at 0641 GMT COUNTRY FX RIC FX DAILY % FX YTD % INDEX STOCKS DAILY % STOCKS YTD % Japan -0.02 +3.14 1.78 7.16 China +0.23 +5.49 -0.38 9.75 India -0.10 -3.88 -0.29 3.51 Indonesia -0.21 -1.35 0.95 -12.46 Malaysia -0.05 -0.75 -0.88 -1.74 Philippines -0.02 +4.87 -0.16 -10.12 S.Korea +0.46 +4.18 1.35 13.11 Singapore +0.13 -0.13 -0.32 -16.33 Taiwan +1.21 +5.60 1.38 10.54 Thailand +0.83 -0.96 0.82 -14.40 (Reporting by Anushka Trivedi in Bengaluru; Editing by Anil D'Silva)