Stocks climb; First Gen advances

The stock market rose for the second straight day Wednesday, with investor sentiments lifted  by good news on the China-US trade talks.

The Philippine Stock Exchange Index gained 37.16 points, or 0.5 percent, to 7,488.24 on a value turnover of P11.9 billion. Gainers beat losers, 98 to 85, with 44 issues unchanged.

First Gen Corp. of the Lopez Group climbed 3.8 percent to P19.30, while SM Investments Corp. of retail tycoon Henry Sy Sr. advanced 2.7 percent to P945.

GT Capital Holdings Inc. of the late tycoon George Ty rose 1.6 percent to P940, but ISM Communications Corp., a member of the group declared by the government as the country’s third major telecommunications firm, sank 8 percent to P5.72.

The rest of Asian markets rallied Wednesday, while the pound extended losses as it emerged that Prime Minister Theresa May will face a no-confidence vote.

A flurry of positive developments in the tariffs stand-off between the world’s top economies provided some early Christmas cheer on trading floors, fueling hopes they can avert an all-out trade war.

Canada on Tuesday released on bail Meng Wanzhou, chief financial officer at Chinese telecoms giant Huawei, whose arrest last week sparked fury in Beijing and worries about a truce agreed at the G20 by Donald Trump and Xi Jinping this month.

Providing some extra support to the news of Meng’s release was an interview in which Trump said he could intervene in the case if it helps seal a trade pact with China, adding: “Whatever’s good for this country, I would do.”

China added to market-friendly noise by saying it had agreed to cut tariffs on US autos to 15 percent from 40 percent—wiping out a levy imposed earlier this year in response to US measures.  

Investors welcomed the headlines—despite news China had detained a former Canadian diplomat who served in Beijing—fuelling a surge in regional markets.

Tokyo ended 2.2 percent higher and Shanghai finished up 0.3 percent, while Hong Kong jumped 1.6 percent.

Sydney and Seoul each jumped 1.4 percent, while Taipei climbed 1.1 percent, Wellington put on 0.8 percent and Mumbai gained one percent.

“Last week, events seemed to conspire to throw the truce into disarray, but the underlying incentives of both sides at the moment are to try to maintain that truce,” said Freya Beamish, chief Asia economist at Pantheon Macroeconomics, told Bloomberg News.

“Now we are seeing the possibility that China will come through with reductions of tariffs on US autos, and that’s another good, concrete step.”

Car firms across Asia tracked gains in their US counterparts as the China tariffs news lifted optimism in the auto market, with Hyundai 5.3 percent higher in Seoul while in Tokyo Toyota was up more than two percent and Mitsubishi added almost three percent.  

And energy firms were also well up after data showed a massive drop in US stockpiles, indicating a pick-up in demand to offset worries about a global supply glut that has hurt prices.

Both main crude contracts were more than one percent higher. With AFP

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