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Monday, March 4, 2024

Market rises; MacroAsia climbs

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Stocks rose Thursday, after the government reported a 6.8-percent gross domestic product growth in the first quarter, making the Philippines one of the fastest expanding Asian economies.

The Philippine Stock Exchange index, the 30-company benchmark, gained 15 points, or 0.2 percent, to 7,571.00, as three of the six major sectors advanced.

The broader all-share index also increased 9 points, or 0.2 percent, to settle at 4,629.91, on a value turnover of P5.5 billion. Gainers outnumbered losers, 104 to 85, while 55 issues were unchanged.

Twelve of the 20 most active stocks ended in the green, led by MacroAsia Corp. which climbed 6.8 percent to P25.30 and Vitarich Corp. which jumped 6.7 percent to P3.80.

Metropolitan Bank & Trust Co. rose 2.6 percent to P83.60, while PLDT Inc. added 2.5 percent to close at P1,376.00.

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Most Asian markets also ended higher Thursday. Crude prices extended their rally, propelling Asian energy firms and equity markets, as rising demand and Donald Trump’s decision to tear up the Iran nuclear deal point to a thinning of supplies.

While broadly expected, the president’s announcement has helped light a fire under oil, with both main contracts now sitting at highs not seen since the end of November 2014 and speculation they could go even higher.

The decision Tuesday comes as data shows US stockpiles are dwindling, major producer Venezuela is wracked by economic upheaval, and Opec and Russia press on with an output cap.

“Unsurprisingly, crude continues to trade actively following the US pulling out of (the Iran pact) as the decision poses significant supply risk in the context of the delicately balanced supply and demand matrix,” said Stephen Innes, head of Asia-Pacific trading at Oanda.

He said that “unless there are some production increases from the OPEC/Non-OPEC accord to offset the drop in Venezuelan production, and the expected decline of the Iranian output, prices could be in for a significant leg higher.

“Of course, there is little indication that the accord will be looking to intervene” but eyes are now on Opec’s meeting in Vienna on June 21.

Both main oil contracts, which rose around three percent on Wednesday, were almost one percent up in Asia.

The gains fed into energy firms with Woodside Petroleum surging 5.1 percent in Sydney, CNOOC more than three percent in Hong Kong and Tokyo-listed Inpex piling on 3.4 percent.

Stock markets were also benefiting.

Hong Kong rose one percent after three straight gains, Shanghai finished 0.5 percent higher and Tokyo ended up 0.4 percent.

Sydney added 0.2 percent and Seoul was 0.8 percent higher, while Wellington, Taipei and Manila were deep in positive territory. However, Singapore was off 0.2 percent.

Trade in Malaysian equities and the Malaysian markets are closed for the general election.

“This tug-of-war remains in the market, regardless of the positive headlines on North Korea, regardless of the positive headlines on earnings,” Quincy Krosby, the chief market strategist at Prudential Financial, told Bloomberg News.

“This is a market that has to sort that out, and that 10-year [US Treasury] yield flirting with three percent again is a reflection of that tug-of-war,” Krosby said.

Dealers are also keeping an eye on the China-US trade spat, with Xi Jinping’s top economics advisor heading to Washington next week for fresh talks after a high-level meeting between the economic powers ended with no agreement last week.

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