Stocks rose for the second straight day in anticipation of a strong economic recovery next year with the start of vaccination in the country in the first quarter.
The Philippine Stock Exchange Index surged 91.73 points, or 1.3 percent, to 7,246.16 on a value turnover of P9.9 billion. Gainers overwhelmed losers, 155 to 77, with 40 issues unchanged.
Robinsons Land Corp., the property unit of the Gokongwei Group, advanced 4.1 percent to P20.50, while Dito CME Holdings Corp., the third major telecommunications firm, climbed 4 percent to P7.46.
Major property developer Ayala Land Inc. gained 3.9 percent at P41.60, while SM Prime Holdings Inc. of the Sy Group added 2.1 percent to P39.20. Metropolitan Bank & Trust Co., the second-biggest lender in terms of assets, rose 2.1 percent to P51.45.
The rest of Asian markets mostly rose Friday but stalled US stimulus talks and rising virus infections continue to counter vaccine optimism, while the pound struggled after Boris Johnson warned Britain could crash out of the European Union without a trade deal.
Wall Street ended on a mixed note, with the Dow and S&P 500 in the red but the Nasdaq rising.
But Asia enjoyed a better performance, with Hong Kong, Seoul, Singapore, Taipei, Jakarta, Mumbai, and Wellington all rising.
But Tokyo, Shanghai, and Sydney all fell.
While most observers are confident the world economy will enjoy a healthy recovery next year as inoculations are administered, the immediate impact of the disease as countries endure a fresh wave was acting as a drag on trading floors.
A major headache for investors is US lawmakers’ inability to agree a new stimulus, with both sides still blaming each other just weeks before they break up for the new congressional session.
Senate Majority Leader Mitch McConnell has given his backing to a $916-billion plan put forward by the White House but House Speaker Nancy Pelosi has thrown her weight behind a slightly smaller, bipartisan proposal.
“We’re just kind of waiting on a deal,” said Keith Gangl at Gradient Investments. “I wouldn’t expect the market to do a whole lot one way or the other going into year-end from here, especially if the stimulus package keeps getting pushed out.”
The standoff comes despite a slew of worsening economic data, which analysts had hoped would spur politicians to work harder for a deal.
The latest figures showed the number of people applying for unemployment benefits surged last week by 137,000, far more than expected, as record new virus cases have forced leaders to impose strict and economically painful containment measures.
With millions of unemployed workers facing a bleak Christmas, Pelosi said lawmakers may stay in Washington through the holiday to pass a new bill.
“We’ll see how it goes. But we cannot leave here without having a piece of legislation,” Pelosi told reporters on Thursday.
Michael Hewson of CMC Markets said: “If this surprise jump in the jobless claim’s numbers, and rising virus cases doesn’t concentrate minds amongst US lawmakers on Capitol Hill, it’s difficult to imagine what will.” With AFP