Stocks climb as buying picks up ahead of ASEAN

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THE Philippine Stock Exchange index (PSEi) bounced back on Thursday after two days of downward movements, lifted by earnings results, but fell short of its previous high.

The main index closed at 8,519.82, up by 11.33 points or 0.13%, missing the latest high of 8,523.07 recorded on Monday.

The all-shares index closed at 4,979.82, up by 8.79 points or 0.17%.

“The buying momentum continued…ahead of the ASEAN (Association of Southeast Asian Nations) Summit and more earnings announcements,” Regina Capital Development Corp. Managing Director Luis A. Limlingan said in a text message.

Jervin S. de Celis, equities trader at Timson Securities, Inc. said the market is still consolidating, but the earnings results of big players have been key for the PSEi staying above the 8,500 mark.

“Investors are waiting for a major catalyst — that’s why the index has been consolidating for the past three days. The earnings disclosures of blue-chip stocks are also keeping our market above the 8,500,” Mr. De Celis said in a text message.

Leading firms such as DMCI Holdings, Inc., SM Investments Corp., and Metro Pacific Investments Corp. reported good earnings for the third quarter.

Mr. De Celis said the release next week of the gross domestic product (GDP) data for the third quarter might be the catalyst needed by the market. “We have the GDP report by next week so we might see a major move on the day of the announcement.”

Among the sectors, holding firms, services, and property posted gains yesterday. Holding firms closed at 8,707.47, up by 55.81 points or 0.64%. Property rose 12.52 points or 0.31% to 4,037.43 and services climbed 4.29 points or 0.25% to 1,700.86.

Meanwhile, mining and oil led declining counters as it plunged by 645.47 points or 4.9% to end at 12,537.42. Financials closed at 2,086.71, down by 9.86 or 0.47%, and industrials dropped 19.91 points or 0.18% to close the session at 10,994.15. Losers outnumbered advancers at 114 to 89, while 37 names were unchanged.

Value turnover reached P9.32 billion, rising from the previous day’s P7.67 billion, with 1.5 billion shares changing hands.

Foreigners sold their shareholdings, with net outflows recorded at P238.76 million, a reversal of Wednesday’s net foreign buying of P144.67 million.

Meanwhile, other Southeast Asian stock markets were largely buoyant on Thursday, with Singapore inching higher to a fresh two-year high and Vietnam set to extend its gaining run to the fifth session, scaling a 10-year peak.

Record-setting gains overnight on Wall Street brought cheer to broader Asia, lifting MSCI’s index of Asia-Pacific shares outside Japan to a fresh 10-year high.

Meanwhile, data showing surprisingly strong producer prices in China last month and a pickup in consumer inflation underscored the resilience of the economy. — P.P.C. Marcelo with Reuters