STOCKS OPENED the second quarter on a positive note, trekking higher on the back of positive economic data from the United States amid thinner trading.

The 30-member Philippine Stock Exchange index (PSEi) rose 0.74% or 59.62 points to finish at 8,039.45 on Monday.
The broader all-shares index likewise climbed 0.59% or 28.99 points to 4,869.55.
“It was up after the economic data coming out from the US on consumer spending. It was lower than the estimate, thereby resulting in the US treasury yields going down to lower than 2.75%. This is indicative that aggressive rates increase by the US Fed (Federal Reserve) is still far-fetched,” Diversified Securities, Inc. equities trader Aniceto K. Pangan said by phone.
Mr. Pangan noted that easing concerns over higher interest rates in the US will create positive sentiment in emerging markets such as the Philippines.
Four sectoral indices moved to positive territory, led by holding firms, which posted a 1.61% or 126.78-point climb to 7,965.87. The mining and oil counter jumped 1.49% or 162.58 points to 11,049.51; property gained 0.96% or 35.12 points to 3,681.97; while industrials added 0.39% or 44.72 points to 11,474.37.
On the other hand, services dropped 0.34% or 5.68 points to 1,666.14 and financials gave up 0.33% or 6.97 points to 2,082.70.
Some 1.59 billion issues valued at P4.55 billion switched hands, significantly lower than the P7.82-billion turnover in the previous session.
Analysts attributed the day’s thin trading to the absence of investors who are only just returning from the Lenten break.
“Some regional markets remained closed as well, limiting the cues to trade with,” Regina Capital Development Corp. Managing Director Luis A. Limlingan said in a phone message.
Advancers prevailed for the day at 131 against 81 that declined and 36 that closed flat. Net foreign outflows dropped to P625.30 million on Monday, lower than the P1.12 billion seen the previous session.
Twelve of the 20 most actively traded stocks saw gains, with Now Corp. soaring 12.33% to P9.20 each. MRC Allied Corp. also gained 6.9% to 62 centavos each, while SM Investments Corp. added 3.05% to P945 each.
The PSEi defied performances of some regional markets, which succumbed to losses due to muted trading during the Easter holiday.
Wall Street on the other hand finished strong last week, with the Dow Jones Industrial Average picking up 1.07% to 24,103.11. The S&P 500 gained 1.38% to 2,640.87, while the Nasdaq Composite index inched up 1.64% to 7,063.45.
Asked for an outlook for the second quarter, Mr. Pangan said the index will continue consolidating.
“The second quarter is still on consolidation until we get the start of the earnings for the first quarter. Whatever the results are will definitely give us a sense of how the market will perform from there,” he said. — Arra B. Francia