Stocks climb for fifth straight day

The stock market surged Monday to extend its rally for the fifth straight day, with banks and select blue chips leading the advance.

The Philippine Stock Exchange Index rose 84.64 points, or 1.2 percent, to 7,236.16 on a value turnover of P4.5 billion. Gainers beat losers, 107 to 83, with 38 issues unchanged.

BDO Unibank Inc., the biggest lender in terms of assets, climbed 2.6 percent to P122.90, while Metropolitan Bank & Trust Co., the second-largest bank, advanced 4.5 percent to P69. GT Capital Holdings Inc., parent of Metrobank, surged 6.4 percent to P775.

Globe Telecom Inc., the second-biggest telecommunications company, advanced 4.3 percent to P1,998, while Metro Pacific Investments Corp., which is into toll roads, water and electricity distribution, power generation and hospitals, gained 2 percent to P5.05.

Most Asian markets also rose Monday, with Shanghai surging more than four percent to build on a rally at the end of last week but traders are still cautious over geopolitical tensions.

A close eye is being kept on China this week after Vice Premier Liu He led the country’s top economic officials in a coordinated drive to shore up beleaguered equities, which have fallen more than a quarter this year.  

The Shanghai Composite Index piled on more than two percent after that, with observers suggesting government-backed funds known as the National Team helped provide support.

And those gains filtered through to Monday after further support measures were announced, with President Xi Jinping promising help for non-state-backed firms, while authorities also unveiled a plan to lower taxes.  

The moves came as data Friday showed the world’s number two economy grew at its slowest pace for nine years during the third quarter.

The announcements helped Shanghai rise 4.1 percent Monday—the biggest one-day gain since the start of March 2016—while Hong Kong added 2.3 percent in the afternoon.

Stephen Innes, head of Asia-Pacific trade at OANDA, said: “The big noise in local markets is the much-anticipated personal tax cuts are a bit more free-handed than had been expected. And what investor doesn’t like the sound of tax cuts?”

However, he added Chinese “markets remain under pressure from every economic angle leaving more than a few investors extremely skeptical Friday’s recovery will have lasting legs”.

Elsewhere in Asia, Tokyo reversed early losses to end 0.4 percent higher, Singapore and Seoul each rose 0.3 percent and Taipei rose 0.6 percent.  

Sydney and Bangkok fell.

While China-US trade tensions simmer, investors are also having to consider other brewing problems, with the US saying it will pull out of a decades-old nuclear treaty with Russia, which Donald Trump accused the country of long violating.

Russian deputy foreign minister Sergei Ryabkov warned withdrawal “would be a very dangerous step”.

That comes as pressure grows on Saudi Arabia as it admitted a journalist critical of Riyadh had been killed at its Istanbul consulate.  

“Geopolitics looks like dominating the news flow this week and what that does to risk sentiment and oil prices will... be important for markets,” said Ray Attrill, head of forex strategy at National Australia Bank. With AFP

Topics: Philippine Stock Exchange Index , BDO Unibank Inc. , GT Capital Holdings Inc. , Globe Telecom Inc.
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