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Stocks rise ahead of inflation data

The stock market rose sharply for the second straight day Tuesday ahead of the release of the official inflation data today, lifted by easing prices and strong buying on certain blue chip issues.

The Philippine Stock Exchange Index surged 171.02 points, or 2.3 percent, to 7,703.92 on a value turnover of P11.5 billion. Gainers overwhelmed losers, 128 to 54, with 52 issues unchanged.

Local pump prices have steadily declined, along with transportation fares, following the recent sharp drop in oil prices in the world market.

The Finance Department last week said it expects the inflation rate to slow down to 6.3 percent in November from a nine-year high of 6.7 percent in October.

The Bangko Sentral ng Pilipinas, meanwhile, said inflation in November likely slowed to as low as 5.8 percent from 6.7 percent in October amid the downtrend in oil prices and as the supply of rice and other agricultural products stabilized.

GT Capital Holdings Inc. of the late tycoon George Ty, advanced 5.9 percent to P971, while unit Metropolitan Bank & Trust Co., the second-biggest lender in terms of assets, climbed 4 percent to P79.90.

JG Summit Holdings Inc. of industrialist John Gokongwei rallied 5 percent to P52.90, while Alliance Global Group Inc. of tycoon Andrew Tan rose 3.9 percent to P11.84.

The rest of Asian markets mostly dropped Tuesday as the previous day’s euphoria over the China-US trade war ceasefire gave way to questions about whether the two can ultimately resolve their differences.

Tokyo tumbled 2.4 percent on profit-taking and a strong yen, while Sydney and Singapore shed one percent each. Seoul dropped 0.8 percent, while Taipei eased 0.5 percent and Wellington gave back 0.1 percent.

However, Hong Kong staged a late rally to end up 0.3 percent, while Shanghai and Jakarta were also up.

However, oil prices continued to rise, building on Monday’s surge fueled by the agreement as well as news of a Russia-Saudi Arabia pact to cap output.

Global investors were given some much-needed Christmas cheer at the weekend after Donald Trump and Xi Jinping called a halt to their painful tariffs battle for 90 days while they try to resolve their differences.

The news lit a fuse under markets after a torrid year that has been dominated by the trade war between the world’s top two economies, which many fear will hit global growth.

However, there is concern that the three-month grace period will not be enough for them to hammer out agreements on key issues, particularly on intellectual property protection.

“Can the US and China really resolve their differences in 90 days?” asked Rodrigo Catril, senior strategist at National Australia Bank.

“It seems that more details and signs of progress will be needed if the initial trade truce warm fuzzy feeling is to be sustained.”

Also, later Monday there was uncertainty about Trump’s claims in a tweet that China had agreed to slash tariffs on car imports, with two of his top advisers unable to provide clarity on the issue. 

Topics: stock market , Philippine Stock Exchange Index , Bangko Sentral ng Pilipinas , GT Capital Holdings Inc.
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