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Tuesday, March 5, 2024

Market rises; ICTSI, Vulcan up

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Stocks rose Thursday, as concerns over a US-China trade war eased and on reports Philippine manufacturing grew strongly in the first two months of 2018.

The Philippine Stock Exchange index, the 30-company benchmark, gained 24 points, or 0.3 percent, to close at 8,022.16, as three of the six major sectors advanced.

The heavier index, representing all shares, went up 6 points, or 0.1 percent, to settle at 4,864.45, on a value turnover of P5.9 billion. Losers outnumbered gainers, 103 to 83, while 55 issues were unchanged.

Nine of the 20 most active stocks ended in the green, led by Vulcan Industrial & Mining which climbed 6.2 percent to P1.02. Port operator International Container Terminal Services Inc. rose 1.7 percent to P100, while conglomerate SM Investments Corp. gained 1.5 percent to P974.

Meanwhile, most Asian markets also traded higher Thursday. Japan’s benchmark Nikkei 225 index rose 1.5 percent, or 325.87 points, to end at 21,645.42, while the broader Topix index was up 1.1 percent, or 18.48 points, at 1,724.61.

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“The bullish sentiment has increased as the trade war between the US and China has entered into a phase of searching for common ground,” Yoshihiro Ito, chief strategist at Okasan Online Securities said in a commentary.

The escalating confrontation between Washington and Beijing had inched closer to all-out trade war on Wednesday after China threatened retaliation against key US exports.

Beijing unveiled plans for painful import duties targeting politically sensitive US exports, including autos, aircraft and soybeans, to retaliate against looming US tariffs on more than 1,000 Chinese goods.

Wall Street opened sharply lower on the news but investors eventually decided their fears might be overblown and stocks closed higher.

Analysts said the catalyst for the turnaround was a comment by recently installed White House economic advisor Larry Kudlow, who suggested President Donald Trump’s strident approach to China was a negotiating tactic to win concessions.

“I understand the stock market anxiety. I get that,” Kudlow told Fox Business. “I think at the end of this whole process, the end of the rainbow, there’s a pot of gold.”

Kudlow is well known to financial markets after many years as an analyst on CNBC.

In Asian trade Thursday, the dollar fetched 106.90 yen, up from 106.82 yen in New York and 106.56 yen in Tokyo on Wednesday.

In Tokyo share trading, Monex Group, which soared more than 20 percent on Tuesday after announcing that it was mulling the acquisition of Coincheck, plunged 10.31 percent to 400 yen amid media reports that the troubled virtual currency exchange had accepted the deal.

Last month, Coincheck refunded more than $440 million to customers following the hack of its systems, which was one of the largest thefts of its kind.

Thieves siphoned away 523 million units of the cryptocurrency from Coincheck—then valued at $547 million—during the January hack.

Banks were among gainers, with Mitsubishi UFJ Financial advancing 1.90 percent to 699.7 yen and Sumitomo Mitsui trading up 1.90 percent to 4,440 yen.

Sony rose 1.47 percent to 5,213 yen and cosmetic giant Shiseido soared 2.70 percent to 7,179 yen. 

Toyota edged up 0.16 percent at 6,750 yen, while Mazda fell 0.95 percent to 1,404 yen.With AFP

Other regional bourses in Hong Kong, Shanghai, Shenzhen and Taipei were closed Thursday for a public holiday.  With AFP

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