THE BOURSE extended gains for a second straight trading day to finish at the year’s fifth record high ahead of today’s fourth-quarter 2017 gross domestic product (GDP) report that is widely expected to have kept the full-year pace within the government’s target.

The Philippine Stock Exchange index (PSEi) edged up 34.70 points or 0.38% to finish 8,950.62, while the all-shares index gained 21.94 points or 0.42% to close at 5,173.01.

This marks PSEi’s fifth all-time high finish for 2018, following its close of 8,923.72 last Jan. 9.

Four of the six sectoral indices closed with gains, while foreigners remained net buyers for the seventh straight trading day.

9,000 IN SIGHT
“Philippine markets bought up the index once more right before the release of fourth quarter (GDP report) tomorrow,” Regina Capital Development Corp. Managing Director Luis A. Limlingan said in a mobile phone message, while Astrolito Romulo C. del Castillo, First Grade Finance, Inc. president and managing director, noted that “[i]nvestors are expecting better GDP results tomorrow.”

“Reports and news from analysts, Moody’s, also encouraged buying today, allowing investors to position themselves ahead of the announcement,” Mr. Del Castillo added, referring to the 6.7% fourth-quarter GDP growth expectation of Moody’s Analytics that was also the median in BusinessWorld’s poll of 12 economists.

If realized, that pace would put full-year growth at 6.7% against the government’s 6.5-7.5% target for 2017.

RCBC Securities, Inc. on Monday noted that expected fast economic growth is lifting the market’s current growth, saying that the PSEi could rise to the 9,500 level by the end of 2018.

“The market continues to gain momentum. We may breach the 9,000 in the coming days, especially if there’s a favorable outcome,” Mr. Del Castillo said.

Several other Asian bourses joined a region-wide rally, with Japan’s Nikkei 225 and Topix Index, Hong Kong’s Hang Seng index, the Shanghai Composite Index, the Straits Times Index and the Jakarta Composite Index rising 0.03%, 0.12%, 0.43%, 0.39%, 0.54% and 0.41%, respectively, though South Korea’s KOSPI sank by 0.72%

Locally, services led the four indices that gained, rising 17.98 points or 1.09% to close 1,656.75; followed by property that increased by 20.69 points or 0.51% to close 4,056.13; holdings that edged up by 37.30 points or 0.40% to finish 9,181.20; and industrials that added 16.33 points or 0.13% to 11,882.86. 

The two sectors that weighed on the bourse were mining and oil, which fell by 136.71 points or 1.13% to finish 11,891.11 and financials which ceded 1.36 points or 0.05% to end 2,286.87.

Monday saw stocks that declined outnumber those that gained 128 to 99, while 52 others were unchanged.

Some 890.17 million stocks worth P8.14 billion changed hands, compared to Friday’s 914.34 million stocks worth P10.02 billion.

Foreigners remained predominantly buyers for a seventh straight trading day, with net buying growing nearly fivefold to P448.38 million on Monday from Friday’s P92.10 million. Arra B. Francia