* Singapore shares on track for third straight session of loss * Philippine stocks hit over 1-month low By Shriya Ramakrishnan Feb 28 (Reuters) - Southeast Asian stock markets fell on Thursday, with Philippines taking the biggest hit, as sluggish Chinese factory data and cautious remarks from the U.S. front on trade deal progress with China dampened the sentiment. Data released in early trading hours showed that factory activity in China - the region's largest trading partner - shrank for the third straight month in February, highlighting deepening fears of a sharp slowdown and weakening demand in the world's second largest economy. Denting some of the recent optimism after the announcement of a delay in tariff hikes on Chinese goods, U.S. Trade Representative Robert Lighthizer said on Wednesday that U.S. issues with China are "too serious" to be resolved with promises of additional purchase and that it was too early to predict the outcome of ongoing trade talks with Beijing. "The preference for the U.S. to maintain the threat of tariffs for years suggests that the tension will not go away even though the U.S. and China may reach a trade deal in the near term," OCBC Bank said in a note. Leading declines in the region, Philippine stocks fell 1.5 percent to their lowest level since Jan 9. The benchmark was on track to post a loss of 2.9 percent for the month, with most major sectors in the red. Shares of lender BDO Unibank Inc shed 3.7 percent, while SM Investments Corp, the biggest listed firm by market value, lost 2.1 percent. The Indonesian benchmark slid 1.2 percent, weighed down by losses in telecom and consumer stocks, with Smartfren Telecom Tbk PT trading 6 percent lower and conglomerate Astra International Tbk PT declining nearly 4 percent. Singapore shares, which are heavily influenced by any development in the Sino-U.S. tariff front due to its high trade exposure, fell about 0.6 percent, dragged by losses in the industrial and financial stocks. While the index is on track to post a monthly gain of 1.3 percent in February, it was poised to fall for the third straight day. Vietnam's index, which has outperformed most of their Southeast Asian peers this month also fell 0.4 percent, pulled down by industrial and financial stocks. The Malaysian index traded slightly lower, while the Thai benchmark were largely flat. For Asian Companies click; SOUTHEAST ASIAN STOCK MARKETS AS AT 0334 GMT STOCK MARKETS Change on the day Market Current Previous close Pct Move Singapore 3232.34 3250.02 -0.54 Bangkok 1664.16 1665.27 -0.07 Manila 7772.64 7889.12 -1.48 Jakarta 6446.271 6525.683 -1.22 Kuala Lumpur 1710.02 1713.45 -0.20 Ho Chi Minh 986.19 990.27 -0.41 Change on year Market Current End 2018 Pct Move Singapore 3232.34 3068.76 5.33 Bangkok 1664.16 1563.88 6.41 Manila 7772.64 7466.02 4.11 Jakarta 6446.271 6194.498 4.06 Kuala Lumpur 1710.02 1690.58 1.15 Ho Chi Minh 986.19 892.54 10.49 (Reporting by Shriya Ramakrishnan in Bengaluru)
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