Local stocks climb as US-China trade talks start

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By Arra B. Francia, Reporter

LOCAL EQUITIES booked gains on Monday as investors turned upbeat prior to the start of meetings between the United States and China to defuse their ongoing trade war.

The 30-company Philippine Stock Exchange index (PSEi) climbed 0.34% or 26.55 points to 7,787.66 yesterday, marking its fourth day on a winning streak. The main index hit an intraday high of 7,900.70, but failed to hold on to the large gains until the closing bell.

The broader all-shares index likewise rose 0.41% or 19.38 points to 4,671.97.

“Philippine shares continue to be bought on positive sentiment, this time with hope that a breakthrough will be reached as the Sino-trade discussion starts,” Regina Capital Development Corp. Managing Director Luis A. Limlingan said in a mobile message.

Officials from the US and China will meet in Beijing for two days starting Monday to discuss the next steps in their trade spat before their 90-day truce expires on March 1.

The PSEi mirrored the positive finishes of markets abroad. Last Friday, the Dow Jones Industrial Average surged 3.29% or 746.94 points to 23,433.16. The S&P 500 index advanced 3.43% or 84.05 points to 2,513.94, while the Nasdaq Composite index rallied 4.26% or 275.35 points to 6,738.86.

“Positivity may have come from how US markets surged last Friday, and further sentiment from the lower than expected December inflation figure,” Papa Securities Corp. Sales Associate Gabriel Jose F. Perez said in an e-mail, referring to the 5.2% inflation rate reported by the Philippine Statistics Authority last Friday.

Mr. Perez also noted that investors may have gone profit taking near the market’s close, given that it closed much lower than its intraday high.

“With [yesterday]’s sell-down at the close, the 7,900 level seems to be the area to watch out for in the coming days. Foreigners may have finally come back in the market as well especially with two consecutive days of inflows above the P1.0 billion mark,” Mr. Perez said.

The local bourse maintained its foreign buying position for the third straight day, with net inflows rising to P1.22 billion from last Friday’s P1.02 billion.

The financials counter was the lone sub-index that ended the day with losses, falling 1.31% or 23.81 points to 1,789.80.

The rest went up, led by property which surged 1.6% or 62.39 points to 3,939.75. Industrials firmed up 0.96% or 108.91 points to 11,358.82; services were up 0.81% or 12.03 points to 1,495.44; holding firms added 0.54% or 41.07 points to 7,648.11; while mining and oil gained 0.32% or 28.83 points to 8,900.98.

Some 1.34 million issues valued at P8.41 billion switched hands, down from the previous session’s P9.04 billion.

Advancers swamped decliners, 126 to 82, while 38 names were unchanged.