Emerging Asian stocks edge up as Omicron worries ease
* Fed's Barkin supports 'normalising policy'
* S. Korean won falters after 4 days of gains
* Philippine shares eye biggest weekly drop since Oct-end
* Malaysian equity markets shut for holiday
By Anushka Trivedi
Dec 3 (Reuters) - Philippine stocks led emerging market gains on Friday as investor concerns about the new coronavirus variant Omicron abated slightly, although regional currencies were subdued after more hawkish remarks from U.S. central bankers.
Scientists in South Africa, where the mutation was first discovered last month, said symptoms for vaccinated infected patients appeared to be mild, while a handful of U.S. Omicron cases identified also displayed moderate symptoms.
Shares in Thailand .SETI , South Korea .KS11 and Singapore .STI rose between 0.1% to 0.8%, although gains were capped by new concerns about China after ride-hailing giant Didi DIDI.N said it would de-list in New York. That news weighed on Hong Kong .HSI and Japanese markets .N225 .
"Risk sentiment recovered overnight with virus and vaccine news flow being net positive," National Australia Bank (NAB) Research analysts wrote in a note.
However, volatility is expected to continue as it will take at least two weeks to assess the severity of the Omicron variant and the efficacy of vaccines, NAB added.
Philippine shares .PSI rose 1%, attempting to recover from sharp falls earlier this week, which has brought index losses to 2.3%, setting it up for its biggest weekly decline since Oct. 29.
The South Korean won KRW=KFTC eased 0.3% after rising for four days to lead losses among currencies. It is still headed for weekly gains of around 1.1% due to recent positive economic data that has fuelled rate hike bets.
However, "with Omicron cases being confirmed in Korea and some travel related quarantines re-imposed, it may be a matter of time before the won gives up on some of its recent gains," Mizuho analysts wrote in a note.
The Thai baht THB=TH and the Indonesian rupiah IDR= , both fell 0.2%, while most other Asian units traded flat as the greenback found support ahead of a crucial payrolls report that could nudge the Fed to make earlier interest rate hikes.
Two more Fed officials joined chair Jerome Powell in striking a hawkish tone overnight, with San Francisco Fed President Mary Daly saying it may be time to "start crafting a plan" to raise rates to combat inflation.
Kuala Lumpur equities .KLSE were shut for a holiday.
** Globe Telecom GLO.PS jumped 3% to lead gains on the Philippine benchmark after signing loan facilities worth 15 billion pesos ($297.97 million).
** Oil prices climbed, extending gains after oil producing club OPEC and its allies said they would review supply additions ahead of the next scheduled meeting if the Omicron variant hits demand.
** Indonesian 10-year benchmark yields ID10YT=RR were down 0.3 basis points at 6.379%.
Asia stock indexes and currencies at 0322 GMT
FX DAILY % FX YTD %
INDEX STOCKS DAILY % STOCKS YTD % Japan
-7.71 Philippines PHP=
9.87 ($1 = 50.3400 Philippine pesos)
Graphic: World FX rates Link
Asian stock markets Link
Reporting by Anushka Trivedi in Bengaluru; Editing by Sam
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