Market rises; Semirara, Meralco lead advancers

Stocks rose Thursday, following gains in other Asian markets as a bout of profit taking apparently came to a halt before the end of the week.

The Philippine Stock Exchange index, the 30-company benchmark, rose 45 points, or 0.6 percent, to close at 8,174.93, as five of the six major sectors advanced.

The heavier index, representing all shares, also gained 19 points, or 0.4 percent, to settle at 4,800.59, on a value turnover of P5.9 billion. Gainers outnumbered losers, 97 to 93, while 47 issues were unchanged.

Eleven of the 20 most active stocks ended in the green, led by coal miner Semirara Mining and Power Corp. which jumped 7 percent to P38 and power retailer Manila Electric Co. which climbed 3.6 percent to P319.  Conglomerate SM Investments Corp. rose 2 percent to P978.

Meanwhile, Asian equities were mixed, with stocks rising in Japan, Hong Kong and Australia and falling in China and South Korea. 

Tokyo stocks rallied Thursday after three days of losses, while technology firms saw some much-needed buying in Asia but regional markets were dogged by political concerns, the latest being Donald Trump’s recognition of Jerusalem as Israel’s capital.

Equities plunged on Wednesday, led by tech firms as investors cashed out following a year-long surge in the sector.

However, strong gains in stocks including Amazon, Facebook and Google parent Alphabet in New York provided some buying impetus for the sector in Asia.

Tencent jumped 3.2 percent and AAC technology climbed three percent in Hong Kong while Sony rose 1.8 percent and Samsung was 1.4 percent higher.

But energy firms, which also dived Wednesday, suffered again after a plunge in oil prices overnight fueled by disappointing US stockpiles data. Crude was flat Thursday.

Tokyo ended 1.5 percent higher, while Hong Kong added 0.3 percent—the two benchmark indexes had plunged around two percent on Wednesday.

Sydney and Wellington were each up 0.5 percent. But Shanghai shed 0.7 percent while Singapore and Seoul both slipped 0.5 percent.

In early European trade London and Paris were flat while Frankfurt added 0.2 percent.

“Asia equity investors found themselves standing in a sea of pain at yesterday’s market close and are likely breathing a sigh of relief that both EU and US equity investors appear a bit more level-headed for the time being,” said Stephen Innes, head of Asia-Pacific trading at Oanda.

After a blockbuster year for most global markets—helped by bets on Trump’s promise to cut taxes and ramp up spending—geopolitical worries and dealers winding down for the year’s end have put them on course for a painful December.

Trump’s controversial decision on Jerusalem drew swift global condemnation and fanned fears about the overall prospects for stability in the Middle East. 

That followed news this week that one of the president’s former close advisers had admitted lying to investigators in a probe into Russian meddling in the US election, bringing it closer to the White House.

Britain’s struggles to hammer out a deal with the EU on the Irish border question have left Brexit talks in limbo, meaning the second phase of the negotiations—on trade—cannot go ahead. 

With AFP, Bloomberg

Topics: Philippine Stock Exchange index , Stock Market
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