Stocks extend climb ahead of corporate earnings

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LOCAL STOCKS reversed intraday losses to book gains on Thursday, as investors anticipate the release of 2017 earnings reports.

The bellwether Philippine Stock Exchange index (PSEi) managed to rise 0.16% or 14.33 points to close at 8,612.44 on Thursday.

The broader all-shares index was flat, adding 0.05% or 2.8 points to close at 5.075.60.

“Philippine markets fell into the same pattern once again today, falling close to 1%, but some buying opportunities pushed the close to slightly positive territory,” Regina Capital Development Corp. Managing Director Luis A. Limlingan said in a mobile phone message on Thursday.

In a separate market note, Papa Securities Corp. said investors bought shares in Metro Pacific Investments Corp. (MPIC) and Ayala Corp. (AC) near the market’s close, causing their last-minute increase.

Stocks in MPIC and AC picked up 4.46% to P5.85 each and 5.29% to P1,095 apiece, respectively.

Meanwhile, IB Gimenez Securities, Inc. Research Head Joylin F. Telagen said investors considered local stocks to be pricey compared to other markets, prompting the heavy sell-off in previous weeks.

“However, as corporate earnings start to trickle in, we think that there is still room for it to move higher. As strong corporate earnings will tend to lower the PE ratio. I think earnings report will be the main driven factors over the next few weeks not just in PSEi but to global equities as well,” Ms. Telagen said in a text message.

Sectoral counters were split between those that advanced and those that declined. The mining and oil counter led gainers, jumping 1.81% or 208.31 points to 11,706.35. Holding firms gained 1% or 87.88 points to end at 8,797.05, while industrials inched up 0.01% or 1.75 points to 11,398.62.

On the other hand, the services sub-index gave up 0.79% or 13.74 points to 1,705.47. Property lost 0.79% or 31.03 points to 3,885.17, while financials dropped 0.03% or 0.84 point to 2,210.29.

Investors were back in the market, prompting value turnover to rise to P10.7 billion after some 2.13 billion issues switched hands.

This is higher than the P8.92-billion value turnover posted on Wednesday.

Decliners prevailed for the day at 147 against 68 stocks that advanced, while 42 issues were unchanged.

Foreign investors were sellers for the 16th straight day, although net outflows slimmed to P373.42 million against the P719.46 million booked on Wednesday.

The market will be closed today for the Chinese New Year holiday.

Most Southeast Asian stock markets also firmed on Thursday, tracking broader Asia, with Singapore surging after data showed a faster-than-expected growth in exports last month.

MSCI’s broadest index of Asia-Pacific shares outside Japan was up 1.3% by 0400 GMT. — Arra B. Francia with Reuters