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Stocks advance; ICTSI; PLDT rise

The stock market rallied Tuesday in step with the rest of Asia following a positive lead from Wall Street overnight.

The Philippine Stock Exchange Index rose 38.82 points, or 0.5 percent, to 7,747.54 on a value turnover of P5.7 billion. Losers, however, beat gainers, 108 to 83, with 56 issues unchanged.

International Container Terminal Services Inc., the biggest port operator, advanced 4.4 percent to P119, while Aboitiz Power Corp. climbed 3.9 percent to P35.

PLDT Inc., the biggest telecommunications firm, increased 3 percent to P1,107, but SM Prime Holdings Inc., the largest integrated property company, fell 3.4 percent to P36.70.

The pound, meanwhile, extended its rally in Asian trade after British Prime Minister Theresa May hammered out a revision to her controversial Brexit deal she hopes will be enough to push it through parliament.

The surge in sterling came as regional equity markets pushed higher following a positive lead from Wall Street, with tech firms tracking an upbeat outlook for Apple, energy firms rising with oil prices and dealers cheered by improving US retail sales.

With a key vote on her agreement due later in the day, May said she had secured “legally binding” guarantees with the EU over the main sticking point of the Irish border question.

The news reinforced hopes the country will have some sort of deal in place once it exits the bloc.

If her plan is still dismissed by MPs, there will be a vote Wednesday on whether to continue to leave without a deal—considered economically catastrophic by many—and if that fails to pass then another will take place on extending the March 29 exit deadline.

“From today for three days the market will be closely watching the UK lower house votes over Brexit,” Mizuho Securities said in a note.

The main scenario is that the Tuesday vote will be denied, the Wednesday vote will approve avoiding a hard landing, and the Thursday vote will decide the extension until the end of June, it said.

“If the extension is pushed back to December 2019 or later, that would be favored by the market with possibility of the second referendum that may deny Brexit,” it said.

The pound has risen about 1.5 percent against the dollar since late Friday, while it is up around two percent on the euro.

The broadly upbeat mood has also lifted higher-yielding currencies against the greenback as investors return to riskier assets.

On equity markets Tokyo’s Nikkei closed 1.8 percent higher, while Shanghai was up 1.1 percent and Hong Kong put on 1.2 percent in the afternoon.

Singapore jumped 0.8 percent and Seoul and Taipei each added 0.9 percent.

The gains follow last week’s sharp sell-off that was fueled by worries over the global economy, with the OECD lowering its 2019 forecasts, the European Central Bank sounding a negative note on the eurozone’s outlook and Chinese trade taking a hammering.

However, OANDA senior market analyst Jeffrey Halley warned that things could still turn ugly. With AFP

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