PHL shares end higher as US-Iran tensions ease

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The Philippine Stock Exchange — PHOTO BY SANTIAGO J. ARNAIZ

By Denise A. Valdez, Reporter

LOCAL SHARES kept fluctuating on Thursday, bouncing back to record a gain yesterday as investor concerns on the US-Iran friction eased.

The bellwether Philippine Stock Exchange index (PSEi) added 61.4 points or 0.79% to close at 7,797.64 yesterday, while the broader all shares index increased 17.25 points or 0.37% to 4,612.83.

The regained confidence in the market was attributed by Timson Securities, Inc. Trader Darren T. Pangan to the easing tension between United States and Iran.

In a text message Thursday, he said, “The market went up amid a more optimistic investor sentiment as President Trump stated that he is holding off any military confrontation on Iran despite the bombing in their base at Iraq yesterday.”

Despite global alarm following the killing of Iranian military commander Qasem Soleimani by US forces last week, Reuters reported the two countries seem to want to extinguish the fire, quoting US President Donald Trump as saying: “The fact that we have this great military and equipment…does not mean we have to use it. We do not want to use it. American strength, both military and economic, is the best deterrent.”

However, the United States told the United Nations on Wednesday that the killing of the Iranian commander last week was self-defense and vowed to take additional action “as necessary” in the Middle East to protect US personnel and interests.

In a letter to the UN Security Council, US Ambassador Kelly Craft said the United States also stands “ready to engage without preconditions in serious negotiations with Iran, with the goal of preventing further endangerment of international peace and security or escalation by the Iranian regime.”

Wall Street appeared at ease at the end of Wednesday’s trading. The Dow Jones Industrial Average, the S&P 500 and the Nasdaq Composite indices gained 0.56%, 0.49% and 0.67%, respectively.

Over at the PSE, most sectoral indices also had a positive performance on Thursday. Mining and oil surged 166.83 points or 2.06% to 8,250.05; property swelled 49.65 points or 1.21% to 4,139.70; services increased 15.84 points or 1.02% to 1,560.77; holding firms added 60.38 points or 0.79% to 7,666.58; and financials inched up 6.46 points or 0.35% to 1,810.91.

The only declining sub-sector was industrials, which fell 21.48 points or 0.22% to 9,418.55.

Some 843.96 million issues worth P5.56 billion switched hands on Thursday from Wednesday’s 1.76 billion issues worth P5.17 billion.

Advancing stocks outnumbered those that fell, 108 against 81, while 43 names ended unchanged.

Foreigners remained sellers, with net foreign outflows rising to P488.30 million from the P428.75 million recorded on Wednesday.

Mr. Pangan said for today, investors may react on economic announcements of the trade balance and Philippine foreign direct investments. — with Reuters