Most South-east Asia indexes range-bound; Philippines outperforms

SINGAPORE (Reuters) - Most South-east Asian markets were range-bound on Friday, after Wall Street stocks dipped on Thursday and as borderline growth in China's manufacturing activity curbed investor appetite for further risk and prompted profit-taking.

"Wall Street didn't do very well, and we also saw the China manufacturing numbers which weren't very inspirational. So investors are probably taking some profits off the table," said a Singapore-based analyst from OCBC.

Activity in China's factories increased marginally in April but export orders fell sharply, a government survey showed on Thursday, adding to questions about whether the world's second-largest economy is stabilising after its first-quarter slowdown.

Philippines outperformed the region following a week of solid corporate earnings, with its Manila Index stretching gains into a third straight session to rise 0.5 per cent.

The benchmark was buoyed by gains in food service company Jollibee Foods Corp and property firm SM Prime Holdings Inc which rose 1.74 per cent and 1.72 per cent respectively.

The Thai SET index and Indonesia's Jakarta Composite Index also saw slight gains, with both advancing 0.2 per cent.

Singapore's benchmark Straits Times Index bucked the trend, falling 0.4 per cent and reversing gains made on Wednesday following record first-quarter earnings posted by its top three banks.

The index was weighed down by losses in Hongkong Land Holdings, which plunged 4.1 per cent to its lowest in three weeks.

Investors will be looking towards the United States April payrolls report to be released later on Friday. A Reuters survey of economists forecast employment to rise at its fastest clip in five months.

Markets in Vietnam are closed for a public holiday.

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