MS 30th Anniversary XXX

Stock market rallies; SM Group issues up

The stocks surged to a new record Monday, lifted by strong corporate earnings in 2012 and better economic prospects in 2013. Issues owned by the family of retail tycoon Henry Sy Sr. led the market rally, along with consumer-related stocks in anticipation of increased spending in the coming May elections. The Philippine Stock Exchange index gained 43.59 points, or 0.7 percent, to a new high of 6,565.23. Advances beat declines, 97 to 86, with 41 issues unchanged. SM Prime Holdings Inc., the largest shopping mall operator, climbed to a record after 2012 profit beat estimates. SM Prime rose 3.2 percent to P18.80 after increasing 4.7 percent to a record high of P19.30 in early trading. SM Prime said its 2012 profit rose 16 percent to P10.53 billion as it opened new malls and same-store sales increased. The earnings exceeded the P10.43-billion  average profit estimate of 10 analysts surveyed by Bloomberg. “SM Prime beat most analysts’ forecasts so earnings estimates are likely to be upgraded,” said Alex Pomento, head of research at Macquarie Group Ltd.’s Manila unit. “SM Prime can easily beat its 2012 earnings this year because the elections will give consumer spending an added kick.’’ The Philippines will hold congressional and local polls in May to elect half of the Senate, all members of the House of Representatives and officers of local government units. “Feverish” spending for election campaigns will help boost consumer spending, Secretary Butch Abad said Dec. 19. Consumer spending accounts for 70 percent of the $225-billion economy. Sister unit SM Development Corp. jumped 11.2 percent to P8.85, while BDO Unibank Inc., the biggest lender and a member of the SM Group, advanced 2 percent to P87.85. Jollibee Foods Corp., the largest fastfood chain, rose 1.7 percent to P112.80, while Petron Corp., the biggest oil refiner, gained 3.4 percent to P13.48. Megaworld Corp., the second-biggest builder, advanced 2.7 percent to P3.78. Trans-Asia Oil and Energy Development Corp. surged 9.3 percent to P2, while Semirara Coal Corp. rallied 3.1 percent to P238.60. D&L industries Inc. rose 4.8 percent to P6.76. Japan’s benchmark stock index, meanwhile, jumped Monday after Group of 20 finance officials refrained from directly criticizing Prime Minister Shinzo Abe’s government for trying to force down the yen. Other Asian stock markets were mixed. Currency policy was centerstage at the weekend meeting in Moscow of finance ministers and central bankers from the world’s 20 biggest advanced and emerging economies. Japan’s currency was of particular interest because Abe has repeatedly said that he wants a cheaper yen to help manufacturers compete. The Nikkei 225 index in Tokyo surged 2.1 percent to 11,403.36 at midday. Australia’s S&P/ASX 200 rose 0.5 percent to 5,059. South Korea’s Kospi dropped 0.1 percent to 1,978.64. Mainland Chinese shares opened higher after a weeklong break for Lunar New Year. Hong Kong’s Hang Seng fell 0.3 percent to 23,365.53. Stock markets in the US are closed for the Presidents Day holiday on Monday. With Bloomberg, AP
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