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Market advances; Phinma Energy up

Stocks rose for a second day in line with other Asian markets amid speculation about a possible US rate cut.

The Philippine Stock Exchange index, the 30-company benchmark, picked up 15 points, or 0.2 percent, to close at 7,930.55 on Thursday.  The bellwether was also up 6.2 percent since the start of the year.

The broader all-share index gained 7 points, or 0.2 percent, to settle at 4,770.93 on a value turnover of P5.7 billion.  Gainers outnumbered losers, 93 to 79, while 57 issues were unchanged.

Fourteen of the 20 most active stocks ended in the green, led by Globe Telecom Inc. which rose 1.6 percent to P1,870.00 and Phinma Energy Corp. which added 1.4 percent to close at P2.81.

Meanwhile, Asian markets were mixed, with traders unable to take advantage of weak US retail data that raised the chances of another Federal Reserve interest rate cut. Comments in the Fed’s Beige Book update on the economy also pointed to a slowdown.

Hong Kong rose 0.5 percent but Shanghai finished 0.1 percent lower and Tokyo lost 0.1 percent.

Sydney sank 0.8 percent, Singapore shed 0.7 percent and Seoul retreated 0.2 percent, with Wellington also off. There were gains in Taipei, Mumbai, Bangkok and Jakarta.

Speculation about a possible US rate cut provided support to higher-yielding currencies against the dollar, with the Australian dollar 0.6 percent up and the South Korean won 0.1 percent stronger. The Thai baht, the Mexican peso, and the South African rand also posted healthy gains.

Oil prices fell after data pointed to a sharp rise in US stockpiles that reinforced worries about the impact on demand from the China-US trade war and the global economic slowdown.

In Europe, German Chancellor Angela Merkel said Thursday that Brexit talks with London were heading in a positive direction, but stressed that the two sides had yet to reach a deal.

Negotiations are “progressing but still not at the goal,” Merkel told German MPs hours before a crunch summit in Brussels to secure an accord before the October 31 deadline for Britain to leave the EU.

She noted that London had “shown readiness to negotiate, including by putting very concrete proposals on the table”.

But Merkel said she could not give a prognosis on how talks in Brussels starting later Thursday would end.

Underlining the difficulty of securing a deal, she said that “finding a good solution is like squaring the circle”.

She insisted that the remaining EU 27 member states would not allow a “hard border that could inflame hate and violence again” to return to the frontier separating Ireland and Northern Ireland. With AFP

Topics: Philippine Stock Exchange , Globe Telecom Inc. , Phinma Energy Corp.
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