Market rallies; Metro Pacific rises

The stock market rallied Wednesday on bargain hunting and on expectations that Washington and Beijing will eventually strike a tariffs deal.

The Philippine Stock Exchange Index jumped 150.72 points, or 2 percent, to 7,821.34 on a value turnover of P6 billion. Gainers beat losers, 113 to 88, with 38 issues unchanged.

Conglomerate Metro Pacific Corp. surged 5.8 percent to P4.96, while International Container Terminal Services Inc., the biggest port operator, advanced 3.3 percent to P116.50.

GT Capital Holdings Inc. of the Ty Group climbed 3.9 percent to P975, while SM Prime Holdings Inc. of the Sy Group rose 3.6 percent to P38.70.

A Shanghai rally, meanwhile, led gains across most Asian markets Wednesday as Chinese investors grow increasingly optimistic over trade talks with the US.

With expectations that Washington and Beijing will eventually strike a tariffs deal already baked into equity prices, analysts say officials will need to provide some clarity on progress to give markets another step up.

There are also warnings that with optimism so high, there could be a lot of disappointment if the final deal does not live up to the hype, or the two sides fail to even reach an agreement.

The talk is that high-level negotiations are ongoing in order to pave the way for a signing ceremony between Donald Trump and Xi Jinping later this month.

“A mid-March meeting... remains the expected next step, but if trade representatives are unable to agree on the final terms of implementation and enforcement measures, we could see the trade truce rally fade,” said OANDA senior market analyst Edward Moya.

Still, after a slow start Shanghai closed 1.6 percent higher to build on Tuesday’s rally that came on the back of China’s decision to slash taxes and ramp up spending, as leaders look to pep up the stuttering economy.

Mainland Chinese markets are up more than 20 percent this year thanks to trade hopes and following a series of monetary easing measures to kickstart economic growth, which hit its slowest pace in three decades in 2018.

Hong Kong was up 0.2 percent in the afternoon, while Sydney finished 0.8 percent higher after data showed Australia’s economy virtually ground to a halt in October-December owing to tepid household spending and a weakening housing market.

The news has fueled speculation the central bank will have to cut already record-low borrowing costs, cheering equity markets but sending the Australian dollar tumbling about 0.6 percent against the greenback.

Elsewhere, Mumbai added 0.4 percent and Taipei gained 0.5 percent, while Wellington edged up 0.2 percent.

However, Tokyo ended down 0.6 percent, Singapore was off 0.1 percent and Seoul fell 0.2 percent.

On currency markets the pound struggled to recover from losses against the greenback after talks between British and EU negotiators failed to hammer out a revised Brexit deal that Prime Minister Theresa May can pass through parliament. With AFP

Topics: stock market , Philippine Stock Exchange , PSE , Philippine Stock Exchange Index , PSEi , Metro Pacific Corp.
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