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Market rebounds; MRC climbs

Stocks rebounded Monday from a two-day decline, following a record close on Wall Street as a solid US jobs report boosted optimism in the world’s top economy.

The Philippine Stock Exchange index, the 30-company benchmark, climbed 80 points, or 1 percent, to close at 8,453.50, as five of the six major sectors advanced.

The heavier index, representing all shares, also rose 31 points, or 0.6 percent, to settle at 5,083.98, on a value turnover of P7.2 billion.  Losers outnumbered gainers, 109 to 106, while 44 issues were unchanged.

Fifteen of the 20 most active stocks ended in the green, led by Philippine Estates Corp. which went up 16.9 percent to P0.45 and MRC Allied Inc. which added 14.1 percent to P0.89.   Energy Development Corp. gained 4.6 percent to P5.94.

Meanwhile, other Asian markets also rallied as investors cheered US data.  The upbeat developments helped temper worries about Trump’s announcement of steel and aluminum tariffs that sparked a sell-off earlier this month on worries about a trade war.

All three main indexes in New York rose almost two percent on Friday with the Nasdaq chalking up a fresh record, erasing all the losses suffered through a tumultuous February.

Those gains extended into Asia, with Tokyo ending 1.7 percent higher, while Hong Kong climbed 1.9 percent, Shanghai finished 0.6 percent higher and Seoul put on one percent.

Sydney rose 0.6 percent, helped by news Australia had won an exemption from Trump’s tariffs, Singapore piled on 1.6 percent and Taipei added more than one percent.

There were also healthy gains in Wellington and Jakarta.

Investors were cheered by US Labor Department data that showed employers added a forecast-busting 313,000 jobs in February.

The closely-watched monthly report also revealed moderating wage growth compared with the January report, mitigating concerns the Federal Reserve will speed its pace of interest rate hikes.

Markets were sent spiraling down after the January jobs data, which showed wage growth surging and fanned concerns the Fed would likely have to ramp up its pace and number of rate hikes.

“The best of both worlds for equity markets, with the economy in full swing but nary a sign of wage inflation,” said Stephen Innes, head of Asia-Pacific trade at Oanda.

“It doesn’t get much better than that for investors and at least for now has dampened the inflationary fears that weighed on investor sentiment in February. When coupled with an easing in trade rhetoric and positive news from the Korean Peninsula, risk sentiment is powering higher,” Innes said.

The jobs figures and Trump-Kim summit helped oil prices surge on Friday but the commodity was unable to maintain early momentum in Asia.

While the mood is generally upbeat at the start of the week, AxiTrader analyst Greg McKenna warned tensions could come back easily.

“President Trump directly tweeted against the EU on tariffs over the weekend [and] China is still girding for a trade battle,” he said.

In early European trade, London rose 0.4 percent, Paris added 0.5 percent and Frankfurt piled on 0.8 percent. With AFP

Topics: Philippine Stock Exchange index , Stock Market
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