Market rallies; ICTSI advances

The stock market rallied Friday on window-dressing to mark the end of the first quarter as investors bought some oversold stocks in previous sessions.

The Philippine Stock Exchange Index rose 44.53 points, or 0.6 percent, to 7,920.93 on a value turnover of nearly P6.7 billion. The index is up 6 percent since the start of the year. Losers, however, beat gainers, 112 to 97, with 35 issues unchanged.

International Container Terminal Services Inc., the biggest port operator owned by magnate Enrique Razon Jr., climbed 2.5 percent to P130.70, while JG Summit Holdings Inc. industrialist John Gokongwei, added 2.1 percent to P63.50.

MacroAsia Corp., a leader in aviation support services, advanced 5.2 percent to P22.40, while restaurant chain Max’s Group Inc. increased 4.7 percent to P13.80.

The rest of Asian markets rose Friday, putting them on course to end the week on a positive note with investors looking past a downgrade of US growth to focus on the next round of top-level China-US trade talks.

While the past five days have been dogged by fears over the outlook for the global economy, equities from Sydney to Wall Street have enjoyed a stellar start to 2019 fueled mostly by hopes of a tariffs deal and the prospect of lower borrowing costs.

A slight pick-up in the key US 10-year Treasury yield provided some sense of stability, though dealers remain on edge over the future, with data showing the US economy grew at a much slower pace than initially thought in October-December.

Attention is on Beijing where  top Chinese and US negotiators were wrapping up the latest batch of talks aimed at ending their long-running trade row that has dragged on the world economy.

White House economic adviser Larry Kudlow said the negotiations were not “time-dependent” and could be extended, adding they could take weeks or months to get a final deal.

Treasury Secretary Steven Mnuchin wrote on Twitter Friday afternoon that he had “concluded constructive trade talks in Beijing.” The talks are to continue in Washington next week.

Observers have remained upbeat on the negotiations, with China having made a number of concessions on key issues including intellectual property, while US President Donald Trump has often said he is confident.

“Sentiment was largely positive after reports that the trade negotiations between the US and China were improving,” said David Madden, a market analyst at CMC Markets UK.

Shanghai surged 3.2 percent and Tokyo ended 0.8 percent higher, while Hong Kong added one percent.

Seoul and Singapore each added 0.6 percent, Sydney put on 0.1 percent and Wellington gained 0.8 percent. Taipei and Mumbai were also sharply higher.

“Risk assets are being supported right now, in my view, by a dovish Fed, a China stabilization and better sentiment around geopolitical risks,” Frances Donald at Manulife Asset Management told Bloomberg News.

“That probably gives this rally a little bit more juice.”

On currency markets, the upbeat mood helped the dollar rise against the safe-haven yen, while the pound was slightly higher on the greenback but unable to break out of a narrow range as the Brexit saga rumbles on. With AFP

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