THE MAIN INDEX ended March on a positive note, even as it was down from the previous week, partly on month-end window dressing and in step with other bourses that took heart from a fresh round of Sino-US trade talks well into next week.
The Philippine Stock Exchange index (PSEi) gained 44.53 points or 0.56% to finish 7,920.93 on Friday — though 1.15% down from its 8,013.42 finish a week ago on March 22 — while the all-shares index went up by 20.73 points or 0.42% to end 4,864.17.
“Philippine shares closed on an upbeat pace to end with a quarterly gain of more than six percent as part of window dressing and while investors watched developments between US and China. Steven Mnuchin and Robert Lighthizer are now in Beijing with China Vice-Premier [Liu He] heading to the US next month,” Luis A. Limlingan, Regina Capital managing director, said in a mobile phone message.
“Sentiment was also pushed from other regions. US markets recovered from earlier losses as investors focus on trade talks between China and the US, with US trade delegates in Beijing this week. This overshadows the weakness from a weaker US macro data and another huge depreciation in the Turkish Lira.”
A Stock Market Weekend Recap prepared by RCBC Securities, Inc. Research Analyst Fiorenzo D. de Jesus noted that “[t]he local market continued its advance, taking cue from Wall Street’s gains last night and supported by a surge in net foreign buying to almost P1.6 b[illion].”
He noted that “foreign funds picked up their buying” of International Container Terminal Services (ICTSI) that yielded P381 million in net foreign buying; as well as Ayala Land, Inc., P180 million; SM Prime Holdings, Inc., P343 million and JG Summit Holdings, Inc., P114 million.
Revived hopes from a fresh round of US-China trade talks fueled Wall Street’s rise on Thursday, with the Dow Jones Industrial Average rising 0.36% to 25,717.46, the S&P 500 increasing also by 0.36% to 2,815.44 and the Nasdaq Composite Index adding 0.34% to 7,669.16.
Much of Asia was up as well on Friday, with Japan’s Nikkei 225 and Topix, the Shanghai SE Composite, Hong Kong’s Hang Seng, South Korea’s KOSPI and India’s S&P BSE Sensex Index rising by 0.82%, 0.56%, 3.2%, 0.96%, 0.59% and 0.33%, respectively.
Five of the six sectoral indices at home gained: services by 21.65 points or 1.36% to 1,608.34, property by 47.99 points or 1.18% to 4,115.57, industrials by 62.2 points or 0.53% to 11,720.35, financials by 7.87% or 0.44% to 1,762.71 as well as mining & oil by 15.09 points or 0.19% to 7,930.78.
Only holding firms fell, by 10.09 points or 0.13% to 7,736.37.
Fifteen of Friday’s 20 most active stocks gained, led by MacroAsia Corp. whose stock increased by 5.16% to P22.40 apiece, extending the previous day’s gains after reporting strong P1.2-billion 2018 core net income that was a fourth bigger year-on-year.
It was followed by Max Group, Inc. that went up 4.7% to P13.80; ICTSI which rose 2.51% to P130.70; JG Summit which climbed 2.09% to P63.50 and Ayala Land that added 2.05% to P44.90 each.
Four on the same list dropped: GT Capital Holdings, Inc. by 4.95% to P931.50 apiece; SM Investments Corp. by 1.16% to P934; Metropolitan Bank & Trust Co. by 0.13% to P79.90 and Alliance Global Group, Inc. by 0.12% to P16.16 each.
Bank of the Philippine Islands finished Friday flat at P84.20 apiece.
Investors abroad remained predominantly optimistic for the seventh straight trading day, yielding P1.589-billion net buying that was more than double Thursday’s P699.008 million and was the biggest net inflow in those seven sessions.
Still, stocks that declined outnumbered those that gained 112 to 97, while 35 others ended flat.
Trading volume grew to 1.705 billion shares worth P6.679 billion from Thursday’s 900.566 million shares worth P5.086 billion. — with Reicelene Joy N. Ignacio