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EMERGING MARKETS-S.Korea, Indonesia, China slide over 1% on likely U.S. stimulus delay

    * Asian stock markets: tmsnrt.rs/2zpUAr4
    * Public Bank boosts Malaysia shares
    * Indonesia set to cross 1 mln COVID-19 cases
    * South Korea Q4 GDP beats expectations

    By Nikhil Nainan
    Jan 26 (Reuters) - South Korea, Indonesia and China stocks
fell more than 1% and led the declines in Asian markets on
Tuesday, as investors tempered hopes for the quick passage of
$1.9 trillion in U.S. stimulus that had boosted sentiment in
recent weeks. 
    Markets priced in Republican lawmakers balking at the price
tag of the aid package and comments from Senate Majority Leader
Chuck Schumer, a Democrat, that the bill may only be pushed
through by mid-March even as COVID-19 cases surge globally.
    South Korea slid 2%, while shares in the Taiwan
, Indonesia, China, Singapore and
the Philippines fell more than 1%.
    By afternoon, the region's emerging currencies were also
trading flat to lower as the dollar held steady with flows
moving toward safer assets. South Korea's won fell
0.5%.
    "At this stage, the price action looks more corrective then
structural. An increase in Republican stimulus resistance will
further dampen equity market spirits," said Jeffrey Halley, a
senior market analyst for Asia Pacific at OANDA.
    The weak sentiment was likely to spill into European
markets, he said.
    Malaysian shares, however, proved to be an
exception. Though off session highs, the shares rose 0.5%, as
one of the country's top banks surged to a near 23-month high in
early trade.
    Public Bank was last up around 5%. The bank's
4-for-1 bonus share issue went ex-bonus share date, raising the
number of shares and making them more affordable for retail
investors.
    CGS-CIMB said in a client note that Public Bank remains its
top banking pick and the most defensive considering an expected
rise in bad loans this fiscal year.
    The benchmark has still lost around 3% from Jan. 8, before a
state of emergency was declared to help contain the spread of
COVID-19.
    In South Korea, better-than-expected fourth-quarter growth
failed to spur investors, with stocks erasing the previous
session's gains led by chipmakers.
    The country's economy grew at a seasonally adjusted 1.1% in
the December quarter from the prior three months, faster than a
median estimate of 0.7% in a Reuters poll. 
    Mizuho Bank said the good news is that growth is recovering,
but the "divergence between semiconductor-led exports growth
drivers and far more anaemic private consumption recovery are
likely to persist."
    Indonesia is slated to cross 1 million coronavirus cases on
Tuesday, highlighting the Southeast Asian nation's struggle in
getting a handle on the outbreak. The rupiah also edged
lower.
    Indian markets were closed for the Republic Day holiday. 
    
    HIGHLIGHTS:
    ** Genting Bhd and Hong Leong Financial Group Bhd
 gained more than 2% 
    ** Indonesia raises economic recovery budget to $39 billion
 Asia stock indexes and currencies at 0637 GMT      
 COUNTRY      FX          FX       FX      INDEX    STOCKS   STOCKS
              RIC         DAILY %  YTD %            DAILY %  YTD %
 Japan                    +0.03    -0.44            -0.96    4.02
 China                    +0.07    +0.82            -1.37    2.93
 India                    -        +0.18            -        1.84
 Indonesia                -0.21    +0.00            -1.48    3.13
 Malaysia                 -0.05    -0.62            0.51     -2.61
 Philippines              +0.02    -0.11            -1.33    -2.28
 S.Korea                  -0.52    -1.83            -2.14    9.29
 Singapore                -0.14    -0.60            -1.21    3.30
 Taiwan                   +1.34    +1.67            -1.80    6.29
 Thailand                 -0.07    -0.07            -0.30    3.29
 
 (Reporting by Nikhil Kurian Nainan in Bengaluru; Editing by
Jacqueline Wong and Arun Koyyur)
  
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