PSEi stops short of 9,000 as GDP data fuel hopes

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LOCAL EQUITIES ended Tuesday at the year’s sixth peak, closing just under a point short of the 9,000 mark as initial investor disappointment over slower-than-expected fourth-quarter economic growth gave way to optimism that 2017’s full-year clip provided momentum for expansion in 2018.

The Philippine Stock Exchange index (PSEi) finished 48.40 points or 0.54% higher at 8,999.02 — also an intraday peak — while the all-shares index went up 41.60 points or 0.80% to close at 5,214.61.

“The PSEi plunged into the red zone a few minutes after opening and stayed there almost until the close,” RCBC, Inc. noted in its stock market daily recap.

“However, buying before close sent the index back up to close a hair’s breadth below 9,000, specifically at 8,999.02… a new record high for the market.”

The Philippine Statistics Authority in the morning reported 6.6% gross domestic product (GDP) growth for 2017’s fourth quarter — against market expectations of 6.7% — flat from a year ago though slower than the third quarter’s upwardly revised 7%. That brought 2017’s full-year pace to 6.7% against an official 6.5-7.5% target and 2016’s 6.9%.

“It’s quite a good number,” UPCC Securities Corp. equity trader Aristotle D. Reyes, Jr said in a telephone interview.

“I think the analyst consensus for the full 2017 is 6.6% only, and despite all the challenges last 2017, we still had 6.7% GDP,” he noted.

“So I think going to 2018 there’s still optimism.”

Mr. Reyes added that the market also anticipated generally positive corporate year-end reports due for release soon. “We are up also because investors are very optimistic on reports for the 2017, which are coming maybe first week of February or late this January,” he said.

Only one sectoral index ended lower: financials, which shed 9.85 points or 0.43% lower to end at 2,277.02.

The rest closed with gains: holding firms increased by 109.98 points or 1.19% to 9,291.18; mining and oil rose by 77.27 points or 0.65% to 11,968.38; services went up by 9.06 points or 0.54% to 1,665.81; industrials added 56.54 points or 0.47% to 11,939.4; while property edged up by 16.62 points or 0.41% to 4,072.75.

In a reversal from previous days, stocks that advanced outnumbered those that fell 125 to 84, while 47 were unchanged.

A total of 1.19 billion stocks worth P8.55 billion changed hands, compared to Monday’s 890.17 million issues worth P8.14 billion.

Foreigners marked their eighth straight trading day of net buying, though 40.9% smaller at P264.82 million from Monday’s P448.38 million.

Tuesday’s list of most active stocks showed nine gained, led by San Miguel Corp. and SM Investments Corp. that went up 3% to P140.90 apiece and 2.34% to P1,095 each, respectively, and eight lost, led by LT Group, Inc. and Pilipinas Shell Petroleum Corp. that fell 4.08% to P23.50 apiece and 2.65% to P64.25 each, respectively. — Arra B. Francia