Fitch upgrade cheer provides market lift

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OPTIMISM over Fitch Ratings’ increase of the Philippines’ investment-grade credit score cured the bourse of initial weakness on Monday.

Fitch upgrade cheer provides market liftThe Philippine Stock Exchange index (PSEi) climbed by 53.87 points or 0.65% to close 8,358.57 — its best finish in nine trading days — after opening the day 0.10% lower at 8,296.23 and dropping 0.33% to 8,277.26 before closing at its peak for the day. The all-shares index similarly rose 26.59 points or 0.55% to end 4,885.45.

In a reversal of fortunes from earlier in the day that saw most the six sectoral indices losing, five of them ended with gains.

Offshore investors remained predominantly sellers for the seventh straight trading day.

“Locally, the markets cheered as Fitch ratings raised the country’s sovereign rating by one level. This hence provided support to the president’s economic plans, which include a tax reform aimed at strengthening the fiscal outlook,” Regina Capital Development Corp. Managing Director Luis A. Limlingan said in a mobile phone message.

Fitch raised the Philippines’ sovereign rating a notch further into investment grade at BBB with a stable outlook, from its previous BBB- minimum investment score, citing strong investor sentiment unaffected by President Rodrigo R. Duterte’s bloody war on drugs that has otherwise earned international censure.

“Strong and consistent macroeconomic performance has continued, underpinned by sound policies that are supporting high and sustainable growth rates,” Fitch had said.

Five sectoral indices gained: mining and oil by 226.45 points or 1.97% to close 11,708.82; financials by 33.57 points or 1.59% to 2,143.90; holding firms by 74.32 points or 0.88% to 8,500.20; property by 29.32 points or 0.76% to 3,897.12 and industrials by 16.76 points or 0.15% to end 11,032.08.

Only services lost, giving up 21.99 points or 1.37% to 1,583.49.

RCBC Securities, Inc. equity analyst Jeffrey Lucero said in a separate text that losses incurred by PLDT, Inc. and Globe Telecom, Inc. capped general market gains “following news of a possible third telco player in China Telecom (Corporation Ltd.)”

PLDT, Globe, Manila Electric Co. and Universal Robina Corp. were the only losers among Monday’s 20 most actively traded stocks, giving up 4.95% to P1,440, 3.98% to P1,690, 1.55% to P318.40 and by 0.35% to P143.50, respectively.

A total of 923.34 million stocks worth P5.85 billion changed hands, compared to Friday’s 1.02 billion shares worth P6.70 billion.

Stocks that gained continued to outnumber those that lost 91 to 63, while 84 others were unchanged.

Net foreign selling persisted for a seventh straight trading day, but at P7.57 million that was just a fifth of Friday’s P37.284 million and the smallest amount in that period. — Arra B. Francia