Bourse extends gains to nine-month peak

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THE Philippine Stock Exchange — PHOTO BY SANTIAGO J. ARNAIZ

By Janina C. Lim, Reporter

THE MAIN INDEX ended Friday at a nine-month high as heavyweights continued to rally, returning above 8,000 and marking the second straight day and third consecutive week of gains.

The Philippine Stock Exchange index rose 1.51% or 119.92 points to close at 8,407.12 — up 1.81% from Jan. 11’s 7,904.09 finish — while the broader all-shares index edged up 1.28% or 61.08 points to end 4,804.92.

“Our index ended strong today after index heavyweights such as SM, SMPH, JFC rallied by more than two percent,” Timson Securities, Inc. Trader Jervin S. De Celis in a mobile phone message on Friday, referring to SM Investment Corp’s 2.41% rise to P976 apiece; SM Prime Holdings, Inc.’s 2.87% climb to P39.40 and Jollibee Foods Corp.’s 3.77% surge to P324.80 each.

“This could be due to BSP’s inflation outlook for 2019 and 2020 which is expected to settle at 3.2% and 3.0% respectively. The central bank and other private economists expect this year that soaring prices last year will slow down so I guess that… helped the index reach a nine-month high.”

Regina Capital Development Corp. Managing Director Luis A. Limlingan said that stocks may have also been propped up by hopes of eased trade tensions between the United States and China.

“Philippine shares crossed over the 8,000 mark yet again, just as US stocks went on a three-day win streak on Thursday. This came after The Wall Street Journal reported that the Trump administration was debating whether to ease tariffs on Chinese imports in a bid to calm markets and ease tensions with Beijing,” Mr. Limlingan said in a separate text message.

Hopes of a resolution to the Sino-US trade row boosted major Wall Street indices, with the Dow Jones Industrial Average, the S&P 500 and the Nasdaq Composite index gaining 0.67%, 0.76% and 0.71%, respectively on Thursday.

Major Asian bourses took heart, with Japan’s Nikkei 225 and TOPIX index, the Shanghai SE Composite, Hong Kong’s Hang Seng Index and South Korea’s KOSPI Index following suit with increases of 1.29%, 0.93%, 0.75%, 1.25% and 0.82%, respectively.

All six sectoral indices at home ended with gains, led by holding firms (151.94 points or 1.93% to 8,003.19), followed by industrials (192.61 points or 1.68% to 11,650.85), property (60.12 points or 1.51% to 4,017.35), services (19.9 points or 1.29% to 1,560.13), financials (6.4 points or 0.35% to 1,815.63) as well as mining & oil (18.54 points or 0.21% to 8,821.77).

Stocks that gained outnumbered those that lost 111 to 76, while 59 others ended flat.

Only two of Friday’s 20 most active stocks lost, namely: Manila Electric Co. which dropped 2.33% to P369.20 apiece and LT Group, Inc. which shed 0.66% to P15.10 each.

The same list showed Ayala Land, Inc. and Metropolitan Bank & Trust Co. flat at P45 and P82.50, respectively.

Friday saw 1.855 billion shares worth P8.435 billion change hands, compared to Thursday’s 1.216 billion shares worth P14.165 billion.

Foreigners remained predominantly bullish for a second straight day, although their net purchases dropped 66.28% to P1.297 billion from Thursday’s P3.845 billion.