Local shares climb on optimism in telco sector

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LOCAL EQUITIES climbed on Monday, propped up mainly by telco stocks as delays in the entry of a third telco player renewed sentiments for the sector.

The bellwether Philippine Stock Exchange index (PSEi) eked out a gain of 0.19% or 17.42 points to finish at 9,058.62. Still, this marks the main index’s ninth record high for 2018, after finishing past the 9,000 level for the first time last Friday at 9,041.20.

The broader all-shares index also added 0.07% or 3.68 points to 5,273.

“I think the main factor for today is investors’ optimism about telecommunication, which has been greatly battered since President (Rodrigo R.) Duterte’s proclamation of a third player,” IB Gimenez Securities, Inc. Research Head Joylin F. Telagen said in a text message on Monday.

Telco giants Globe Telecom, Inc. and PLDT, Inc. saw their shares jump on Monday, adding 8.76% to P1,899 and 6.52% to P1,601 each, respectively, after weeks of negative performances due to the possible entry of a third player that would break the telco duopoly in the country.

The Department of Information and Communications Technology earlier said the reallocation of mobile frequencies for a third telco player would require legislation, possibly prolonging its entry into the telecommunications industry.

Regina Capital Development Corp. Managing Director Luis A. Limlingan also attributed the market’s movement to base-building after it rose to fresh highs last week.

“Philippine markets traded slightly up, trying to establish firm ground at the 9,000 level,” Mr. Limlingan said in a mobile phone message.

Ms. Telagen also noted that generally improving global growth will likely boost corporate earnings.

“Corporate earnings are starting to trickle in and higher corporate earnings stabilize market valuation to an acceptable level,” she said. 

Four sectors finished in positive territory, led by services which added 2.32% or 39.49 points to 1,736.30. The mining and oil sector followed with an increase of 0.36% or 44.43 points to 12,234.05; financials added 0.06% or 1.42 points to 2,258.15; while holding firms rose 0.05% or 4.95 points to 9,362.95.

The industrials and property sectors, meanwhile, ended in the red, losing 0.60% or 73.43 points to 12,016.53 and 0.54% or 22.49 points to 4,104.47, respectively.

A total of 1.27 billion issues changed hands, valued at P8.87 billion. Declining stocks prevailed, 116 against the 95 that recorded upticks, while 55 names were flat.

Foreign investors were sellers on Monday at a net P86.04 million, lower than Friday’s net sales of P242.25 million. Analysts have noted that foreigners may turn to international markets this week to post higher profits.

Hastings Holdings, Inc., a unit of PLDT Beneficial Trust Fund subsidiary MediaQuest Holdings, Inc., has a stake in BusinessWorld through the Philippine Star Group, which it controls. — Arra B. Francia