Market rises on window dressing

Stocks rose Wednesday on window dressing at the end of the month, with select blue chips leading the market rally.

The Philippine Stock Exchange Index surged 124.23 points, or 1.8 percent, to 7,140.29 on a value turnover of P7.2 billion. Gainers beat losers, 100 to 84, with 45 issues unchanged.

Jollibee Foods Corp., the biggest fast-food chain, climbed 4.6 percent to P276, while Manila Electric Co., the largest retailer of electricity, gained 3.9 percent to P367.80.

DMCI Holdings Inc. of the Consunji Group jumped 7.9 percent to P12.84, while Aboitiz Equity Ventures Inc., which is into power generation and distribution, banking, flour milling and infrastructure, rallied 4.8 percent to P47. Unit Aboitiz Power Corp. rose 4.7 percent to P33.70.    

The rest of Asian markets staged a rare rally Wednesday following a bounce on Wall Street, with attention turning to the release of key US jobs data later in the week.

But while investors briefly have a spring in their step, a mountain of problems—from China-US trade tensions and Brexit, to Chinese weakness and rising US interest rates—is keeping optimism at a premium.

October has been a painful month for Asian equities, which have seen billions wiped from their values, and observers warn of further pain, with Washington and Beijing seemingly unlikely to back off from their tariffs standoff anytime soon.

Still, Wall Street put in a healthy performance Tuesday—the Dow added 1.8 percent while the S&P 500 and Nasdaq jumped 1.6 percent—after data showed US consumer confidence at a new 18-year high in October.

The positive reading sent the dollar up against the yen and the unit continued to rise in Asia after the Bank of Japan once again lowered its inflation forecasts, providing a push for Japanese exporters.

The Nikkei in Tokyo jumped 2.2 percent by the close.

In other markets Hong Kong added 1.1 percent in the afternoon and Shanghai closed 1.4 percent higher.  

In mainland China, data indicating a slowdown in manufacturing activity in October was offset by authorities’ support moves including tax cuts, measures to make it easier for firms to buy back shares and providing liquidity to markets.

Sydney rose 0.4 percent, Singapore climbed 1.3 percent and Taipei soared almost three percent. Wellington jumped more than one percent while Seoul added 0.7 percent and Jakarta gained 0.2 percent.

On currency markets the dollar, boosted by a healthy US economy and expectations of more Federal Reserve rate hikes, was also holding gains against the euro, which has been hit by weak eurozone growth, German political uncertainty and Italy’s budget row with Brussels.

The pound is at a near three-month low and facing fresh downward pressure as officials struggle to reach a deal for Britain to leave the European Union, with just weeks to go before a deadline.

A strong jobs report out of Washington Friday could provide more evidence for the Fed to hike rates and put further upward pressure on the greenback. With AFP

Topics: Stock Market , Philippine Stock Exchange , PSE , Philippine Stock Exchange Index , PSEi
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