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Saturday, March 2, 2024

Market ends 4-day fall; RLC up

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Stocks rose Thursday to end a four-day slump, as fears of turmoil in Italy subsided while China moved to avoid an escalation of trade tensions with the United States.

The Philippine Stock Exchange index, the 30-company benchmark, gained 27 points, or 0.4 percent, to close at 7,497.17, as five of the six major sectors advanced.

The broader all-share index also went up 16 points, or 0.4 percent, to settle at 4,588.29, on a value turnover of P17.2 billion. Gainers edged losers, 102 to 101, while 41 issues were unchanged.

Ten of the 20 most active stocks ended in the green, led by developer Robinsons Land Corp. which jumped 10 percent to P22.05, after a top executive said the company planned to venture into dormitory and share office businesses.

Megaworld Corp., the property development unit of Alliance Global Group Inc., climbed 6.8 percent to P4.86, while AGI also rose 2.5 percent to P13.30.  BDO Unibank Inc., the country’s largest lender, gained 2 percent to P130.50.

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Meanwhile, Asian markets also rose Thursday, as reports about a compromise deal to avert the collapse of Italy’s coalition government provided relief to global markets.

US and European markets also rallied, while the euro jumped after wallowing around 10-month lows against the dollar, helped by a surprise surge in German inflation.

“What a difference a day makes,” said Greg McKenna, chief markets strategist at AxiTrader. 

“My hypothesis that the players… got the shock of their lives from the market’s reaction to their posturing and the turmoil that ensued has proved correct,” McKenna said.

“Italy may not be headed for a summer election. And that means the EU may not face a referendum on its future. Phew, storm in a teacup, nothing to see here, move along, please. At least that’s the take markets appear to go with last night,” he said.

The gains continued in Asia, with Tokyo ending 0.8 percent higher, while Sydney added 0.5 percent, Singapore climbed 0.3 percent and Seoul put on 0.6 percent. 

Hong Kong added 0.9 percent and Shanghai finished up 1.8 percent, supported by data indicating a bigger-than-expected rise in Chinese factory activity in April. Wellington, Kuala Lumpur and Taipei were also comfortably higher.

In early European trade, Milan gained 0.5 percent, building on the more than two percent rise Wednesday, while London and Paris each rose 0.2 percent. Frankfurt gained 0.1 percent.

Oil prices were down slightly but holding up after they also rallied Wednesday in response to a report that said OPEC would likely lift output gradually, soothing concerns about a new supply glut.

Crude markets have been hammered since OPEC kingpin Saudi Arabia and Russia last week indicated they could lift a cap on production, which has supported prices for two years, as an oversupply crisis eases.

Investors are now looking forward to the release Friday of key US jobs figures, which could provide some idea about the Federal Reserve’s plans for raising interest rates.

Payrolls firm ADP estimated US private sector job growth at 178,000 in May, down from 204,000 in April and slightly below analysts’ expectations. With AFP

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