Market rallies; GT Capital climbs

The stock market rallied Friday ahead of the release of fourth-quarter earnings by listed companies and on expectations of a much lower inflation rate in January.

The Philippine Stock Exchange Index surged 136.68 points, or 1.7 percent, to 8,144.16 on a value turnover of nearly P9 billion. Gainers overwhelmed losers, 171 to 49, with 36 issues unchanged.

Phinma Energy Corp., which recently sold a 51.48-percent stake to Ayala Corp. unit AC Energy Inc. for P3.42 billion, advanced 6.2 percent to P1.36, while GT Capital Holdings Inc., which is into   banking, property development, infrastructure and automotive assembly, climbed 4.9 percent to P1,119.

BDO Unibank Inc., the biggest lender in terms of assets, rose 3.7 percent to P140, while SM Prime Holdings Inc., the largest integrated property developer, gained 2.9 percent to P39.20.

The rest of Asian markets mostly rose Friday, with investors treading carefully as China-US trade talks ended with no deal but with both sides sounding notes of optimism and setting up more high-level meetings later this month.

After the much-anticipated gathering, Donald Trump hailed “tremendous progress” between the world’s top two economies but warned the “hard deadline” of March 1 remained in place, after which US tariffs on billions of dollars of Chinese goods will be imposed.

For its part, Beijing said they held “candid, specific and fruitful” discussions and had agreed to increase cooperation on intellectual property—a major source of White House anger with China—and boost imports of US goods.

Trump’s top two economic officials will visit Beijing later this month, after which he said he will meet his counterpart Xi Jinping to hammer out the final deal.

While the negotiations ended with no agreement, Jeffrey Halley, senior market analyst at OANDA, said: “For the markets, which are clearly in ‘risk-on’ mood, it was a case of no news is good news.”

However, an early surge across the region petered out to leave markets mixed.

Tokyo ended 0.1 percent higher and Hong Kong was 0.3 percent lower in the afternoon, while Shanghai jumped 1.3 percent as traders welcomed news that authorities had relaxed certain rules to make investing easier.

Sydney and Singapore were both flat and Seoul dipped 0.1 percent, though Mumbai, Bangkok and Jakarta were all up.

“The statement certainly signals progress, but at best limited progress on the core long-term structural issues that separate the two sides,” Eswar Prasad, a trade policy professor at Cornell University, told Bloomberg News.

“The statement ends with a not-so-veiled threat that China will need to offer more substantive concessions to enable a deal that would take further tariffs off the table.”

The tepid movement in markets also comes after an impressive month that saw Hong Kong pile on more than eight percent and Tokyo more than four percent, a much-needed bounce after December’s hammering.

Next on the agenda is the release of US jobs data later Friday, which comes days after the Federal Reserve fueled a rally by signaling a slowdown in its pace of interest rate hikes this year. With AFP

Topics: stock market , Philippine Stock Exchange , PSE , Philippine Stock Exchange Index , PSEi
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