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Stocks sustain rally; MPIC, SM Prime rise

The stock market rose for the third straight day Wednesday after the International Monetary Fund upgraded its 2021 growth forecast for the Philippines to 6.9 percent from the 6.6-percent estimate it made in January despite rising virus infections.

The Philippine Stock Exchange Index climbed 61.60 points, or 0.9 percent, to 6,651.71 on a value turnover of P6 billion. Gainers swamped losers, 147 to 57, with 46 issues unchanged.

The IMF raised the growth forecast for the Philippines despite the imposition of tighter lockdown measures in Metro Manila and surrounding provinces for two weeks. The country’s gross domestic product contracted 9.5 percent in 2020, the worst since the end of World War 2.

Metro Pacific Investments Corp., which is into toll roads, water and electricity distribution, hospitals and infrastructure, advanced 5.9 percent to P4.15, while SM Prime Holdings Inc., the biggest mall operator and owned by the Sy Group, gained 5.3 percent at P36.85.

Bsic Energy Corp. rallied 7.2 percent to P1.04, while AC Energy Corp., a unit of conglomerate Ayala Corp., added 2.1 percent to P7.64.

The rest of Asian markets were mixed Wednesday as investors took a breather following a recent run-up, though another round of healthy data provided cause for continued optimism over the global recovery.

Hong Kong dipped as it reopened after an extended holiday weekend, while Shanghai, Singapore and Bangkok also dropped.

Analysts said buying was dampened by the Chinese central bank’s move to slow loan growth owing to concerns about the development of bubbles.

Elsewhere in Asia, Sydney, Seoul, Mumbai, Taipei, Jakarta and Wellington were in positive territory.

President Joe Biden gave cause to cheer by saying all adults in the United States would be eligible for a vaccine by April 19, almost two weeks earlier than previously pledged, reinforcing hope that the world’s biggest economy will get back on its feet more quickly.

That came as California’s governor said he aims to fully reopen the most populous US state by the middle of June if the current pace of inoculations continues.

In a further sign the United States was bouncing back, officials said job openings had surged to a two-year high in February, well above the level expected by most analysts.

That followed last week’s forecast-busting employment report and data showing a strong pick-up in the manufacturing and key services sector.

The string of healthy data—along with Biden’s $1.9-trillion stimulus and $2.25-trillion infrastructure proposal—have helped world markets climb to record or multi-month highs.

Recent concerns that the recovery and expected spending splurge will fan inflation and force central banks to lift interest rates have eased for now, with benchmark 10-year US Treasury yields dipping.

The IMF backed up the view of a strong rebound by hiking its 2021 growth forecast for the second time in three months, predicting a 6.0 percent expansion, from its 5.5 percent prior estimate. With AFP

Topics: Stock Market , Philippine Stock Exchange Index , Philippine Stock Exchange , PSE , PSEi , global stock market , Metro Pacific Investments Corp. , SM Prime Holdings Inc.
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