Stocks advance to extend rally; GT Capital, PLDT up

Stocks extended their rally Friday along with the rest of Asia following another record-breaking performance on Wall Street as investors set their sights on a further huge US stimulus after Democrats took control of Congress.

The Philippine Stock Exchange Index jumped 170.27 points, or 2.4 percent, to 7,289.88 on a value turnover of P11 billion. Gainers beat losers, 141 to 74, with 48 issues unchanged.

PLDT Inc., the largest telecommunications firm, surged 5.5 percent to P1,424, while Bank of the Philippine Islands, the third-biggest lender in terms of assets, advanced 5 percent to P87.

GT Capital Holdings Inc. of the Ty Group soared 7.2 percent to P579, while Megaworld Corp., the largest lessor of office spaces, rose 4.6 percent to P4.29.

The rest of Asian markets continued to push higher Friday. All three indexes on Wall Street closed at records, with the Dow ending above 31,000 for the first time, and Asia picked up the baton.

Tokyo and Singapore each jumped more than two percent, while Mumbai, Taipei, Jakarta and Bangkok all piled on more than one percent. There were also healthy gains in Sydney and Wellington, though Shanghai edged down.

Seoul climbed four percent, helped by a jump in Samsung after it reported strong fourth-quarter earnings, while car giant Hyundai rocketed 19.4 percent on the back of reports it was in talks with Apple for a joint project to manufacture self-driving electric vehicles.

Hong Kong was up more than one percent, but telecom giants fell again after MSCI said they would be removed from its benchmark indexes a day after having their New York shares delisted in response to a Trump administration call to bar Americans investing in them.

The prospect of another massive splurge in the world’s biggest economy helped divert attention from soaring COVID-19 infection and death rates that have forced governments to once again lock down as they try to quickly roll out vaccinations.

After Wednesday’s extraordinary scenes in Washington that saw a pro-Donald Trump mob storm the Capitol complex, the president said he would allow for a smooth transition of power to Joe Biden and later called for “healing and reconciliation.”

While the violence shocked the world, investors brushed it off and analysts said Trump’s comments would provide a little more reassurance.

Traders are now looking forward to hearing what Democrats propose to do with their new powers, with expectations they will try to revive their titanic spending plans that were cast aside last year to push through a second stimulus with Republicans just before Christmas.

Among the first pieces of legislation could be a drive to increase the cash handout included in that rescue package from $600 to $2,000.

Observers also said earlier worries on trading floors that Democrats would try to hike taxes and pursue tighter regulations would likely disappear as lawmakers focus on eliminating the virus and reviving the economy.

And most agree that the prospects for 2021 are good, especially with the Federal Reserve pledging to keep interest rates at record lows for the foreseeable future and continue to provide vast sums as financial backup to businesses. With AFP

Topics: Stocks , US Stimulus , PLDT Inc , Philippine Stock Exchange Index , Apple , Samsung , Joe Biden , Donald Trump , Wall Street
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