Stocks extend rally; Megaworld, URC up

The stock market rose for the third straight day Tuesday as investors seized on signs of a slowdown in the spread of the coronavirus in key global hotspots and some governments began making plans to ease restrictions aimed at containing the disease.

The Philippine Stock Exchange Index advanced 79.20 points, or 1.4 percent, to 5,650.01 on a value turnover of P6.4 billion. Gainers beat losers, 125 to 72, with 43 issues unchanged.

Universal Robina Corp., the biggest snack food maker, rose 5.1 percent to P122.60, while Megaworld Corp., the largest lessor of office spaces, climbed 4.3 percent to P2.69.

Jollibee Foods Corp., the biggest fast-food chain, added 4.2 percent to P110.50, while SM Investments Corp. of the Sy Group increased 3.3 percent to P878.

The rest of Asian equities rallied again Tuesday. Crude prices were also lifted by hopes major producers will agree to cut output this week, while the pound clawed back some of its losses that came in response to news Prime Minister Boris Johnson was in intensive care.

Asia extended Monday's rally following a surge on Wall Street, with much-needed optimism on news that fresh cases were slowing in Spain, Germany, Italy and France.

And in the US epicenter New York, Governor Andrew Cuomo said that for the first time the growth rate there was flat, while on Tuesday, China—where the disease first emerged late last year—reported no new deaths for the first time since January.

Meanwhile, Denmark and Austria have started making plans to lift restrictions slowly as they see light at the end of the tunnel.

"You can't say that we've definitely turned the corner for certain but it does appear as though that is a good sign," Mark Heppenstall, at Penn Mutual Asset Management, said.

Tokyo and Shanghai stocks were both around two percent higher, while Hong Kong added 1.7 percent, and Seoul and Taipei each jumped 1.8 percent.

Mumbai soared six percent, while Singapore piled on more than three percent and Bangkok more than five percent.

Wellington also gained, though Sydney and Jakarta slipped.

"Falling infection and death rates from COVID-19 in the worst of the European and US epicenters has inspired markets that the worst of the outbreak is peaking," said OANDA's Jeffrey Halley.

"Whether that is, in fact, the case or not... a world hungry for any good news has leapt on board the recovery trade with equities, in particular, outperforming."

Adding to the positive vibe were further measures to support economies around the world, including a trillion-dollar package in Japan and central bank moves in China.

And with the ink barely dry on a $2-trillion rescue plan passed by Congress last month, Donald Trump said he favored another massive spending program—again roughly $2 trillion—this time targeting infrastructure projects.

EU leaders are also closing in on a rescue for nations worst hit in the region, according to sources, though not at the level called for by Italy and Spain.

The bloc's finance ministers will hold a videoconference Tuesday when they are expected to agree to use the eurozone's $443-billion bailout fund. However, it is thought they will not act on a proposal to issue "coronabonds" that would pool borrowing among EU nations. With AFP

Topics: stocks , market , PSEi , April 7
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