The stock market rose slightly Monday on last-minute buying from investors on growing optimism over vaccine developments.
The Philippine Stock Exchange Index added 8.83 points, or 0.1 percent, to 7,178.62 on a value turnover of P9.6 billion. Gainers beat losers, 147 to 77, with 45 issues unchanged.
Robinsons Land Corp., the property unit of the Gokongwei Group, climbed 6.6 percent to P17.84, while Metro Pacific Investments Corp., which is into toll roads, water and electricity distribution, hospitals and infrastructure, advanced 5.6 percent to P4.37.
AC Energy Philippines Inc., the energy unit of conglomerate Ayala Corp., rose 9 percent to P6.32, while Security Bank Corp., the seventh biggest lender in terms of assets, climbed 8 percent to P120.40.
The rest of Asian equity markets rose again Monday but concern about surging virus cases around the world tempered sentiment once again.
Seoul and Bangkok led gains, each rallying nearly two percent, while Shanghai, Singapore, Taipei and Jakarta all rose more than one percent.
Sydney, Wellington and Mumbai also posted healthy gains. Tokyo was closed for a holiday.
Hong Kong gains were capped as investors fret over a resurgence in the virus in the city that many fear could see economically painful containment measures reintroduced.
A lack of movement in stimulus talks on Capitol Hill and a spat between the White House and Federal Reserve over cash for emergency lending facilities were also keeping gains in check.
Hopes that the world can begin to return to some form of normal in the new year have been rising this month after top pharma giants announced better-than-expected results from trials of their vaccines.
Oxford University and AstraZeneca announced Monday that their joint vaccine project had shown 70 percent efficacy.
That came after Pfizer and its German partner BioNTech said Friday they had applied for emergency use authorization for their drug, which could be rolled out next month. Moderna is expected to make its own application soon.
And on Sunday, a top government health official said he was hopeful jabs could be given within weeks.
“Our plan is to be able to ship vaccines to the immunization sites within 24 hours of approval” by the US Food and Drug Administration, Moncef Slaoui, head of the US government virus vaccine effort, told CNN.
Slaoui estimated 20 million people across the US could be vaccinated in December, with 30 million per month after that. Britain and Germany are also hoping to begin offering jabs next month.
The need for an inoculation has been made stark by soaring infection and death rates in the US and elsewhere as the northern hemisphere heads into winter, when viruses usually spread more.
Some US states have started imposing new restrictions, while several European countries including England and France have returned to lockdowns.
“There is a lot of enthusiasm over the vaccine news and rightly so,” Brian Jacobsen, at Wells Fargo Asset Management, told Bloomberg TV.
“The problem, from our perspective, is we first have to get through winter and this is setting us up for some downside economic surprises.” With AFP