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Asia: Most markets stocks rise as Brexit deal assurance boosts risk appetite

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[BENGALURU] Most Southeast Asian stock markets rallied on Tuesday, with Singapore leading gains, as sentiment across broader Asia lifted after the European Commission agreed to changes in a Brexit deal, boosting appetite for riskier assets.

News that European Commission agreed to additional assurances in an updated Brexit deal with British Prime Minister Theresa May, ahead of a vote in the British parliament, lent support to Asian stocks.

In early trade, MSCI's broadest index of Asia-Pacific shares outside Japan was up 0.3 per cent, following a rally on Wall Street overnight.

Singapore's index led the rally, jumping about 1 per cent to 3,221.92, with with financial and industrial stocks notching strong gains. "The STI fell 0.14 per cent to close at a fresh five-week low of 3,191.42 yesterday, but may regain the 3,200 resistance handle today amid renewed Brexit hopes and Wall Street's recovery overnight," OCBC said in a note.

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Edible oils company Wilmar International Ltd was among top gainers, up 1.6 per cent after signing a deal post market hours on Monday to acquire full control of bread and spreads maker Goodman Fielder. Financial stocks such as United Overseas Bank Ltd and DBS Group Holdings Ltd rose 0.9 per cent and 1.1 per cent respectively.

The Philippine benchmark ticked up, with industrial stocks largely driving gains. Index heavyweight SM Investments Corp edged up, while electric utilities provider Aboitiz Equity Ventures Inc rose 1.1 per cent.

Meanwhile, the country's January trade data showed that exports slipped 1.7 per cent and imports grew about 5.8 per cent from the last year, widening the country's trade deficit slightly. Vietnam's index advanced 0.7 per cent, with real estate stocks largely fuelling the index. Vingroup JSC firmed while Vincom Retail JSC rose 1.6 per cent.

Malaysia's index rose, boosted by stocks such as aluminium manufacturer Press Metal Aluminium Holdings Berhad which rose 2.6 per cent and lender RHB Bank Berhad which added 1.4 per cent. Thai shares also traded higher, as the energy heavy index also benefitted from a jump in oil prices. However,

Indonesia's benchmark was down 0.1 per cent, dragged down by material stocks, with paper products maker PT Indah Kiat Pulp & Paper Tbk slipped 5.1 per cent. 

REUTERS