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PSEi notches gains on GDP data, easing tensions

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THE Philippine Stock Exchange index (PSEi) posted gains last week, even as it edged lower on Friday as investors resorted to profit taking after moving closer to its two-year high the day prior.

The local barometer dropped 56.02 points or 0.69% on Friday to 8,016.73.

Week on week, however, the 30-member index booked a 1.11% or 88.3-point increase from its  7,928.43 close last Aug. 11.

The all-shares index likewise declined 0.54% or 26.05 points to 4,734.84 on Friday, but rose week on week by 53.03 points or 1.13%.

“Abatement of political tensions between North Korea (NoKor) & the US was highlighted during the week, pushing gauges 88 points up at 8,016. NoKor opted to defer the release of its military plan, pending statements from the US,” online brokerage 2TradeAsia.com said in a weekly market note.

Analysts attributed the market’s gain last week to easing tensions between North Korea and the release of Philippine gross domestic product (GDP) data last Thursday. According to the Philippine Statistics Authority, the economy expanded by 6.5% in the April to June period, faster than the first-quarter’s 6.4% but slower than the 7.1% recorded in the comparable period a year ago.

Recent developments in the US government, however, prompted by US President Donald J. Trump’s right-wing sentiments, pulled down Wall Street at the close of trading last week.

US stocks lost ground late to end lower on Friday following a White House-focused week that raised more questions about the Trump administration’s ability to implement its pro-growth agenda.

The week’s losses further dented the post-election rally, which was built on Mr. Trump’s promises of tax cuts and higher infrastructure spending.

The Dow Jones Industrial Average fell by 76.22 points or 0.35% to 21,674.51; the Nasdaq Composite Index dipped 0.09% or 5.39 points to 6,216.53, while the S&P 500 index also shed 4.46 points or 0.18% to 2,425.55.

Back home, value turnover averaged at P5.47 billion last week. Analysts noted this was below the usual volume ahead of the start of the “ghost month” on Aug. 22. The ghost month is a period in the Lunar calendar when some Asian investors refrain from doing big investments or decisions that coincides with the vacation of fund managers in the West, thereby resulting in lower trading volumes.

The market saw an average of P183 million in net foreign buying.

“Suffice it to say that the foreign investors continue to accumulate local shares, which is a clear positive direction on our part, on the Philippine side. Mainly because of the results of the GDP, very attractive to further invest, results show that with the 6.5%, companies may sustain a double-digit,” Diversified Securities, Inc. equities analyst Aniceto K. Pangan said in a phone interview last week.

Local financial markets are closed today in commemoration of the assassination of then senator Benigno Aquino, Jr. — Arra B. Francia with Reuters





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