December 11, 2017 | MANILA, PHILIPPINES

PSEi pares early gains amid US strike on Syria

THE Philippine Stock Exchange index (PSEi) breached the 7,600 mark in intraday trade on Friday, but pared some of those gains to retreat back to 7,500 level as concerns over the US missile attacks in Syria overshadowed optimism on the strength of the domestic economy.

The 30-member index rose 0.24% or 18.43 points to close the week at 7,583.75. This showed a 3.72% gain from last week’s close of 7311.72, setting the second quarter on pace for a strong start as the market weathered the US Federal Reserve’s plan to trim its balance sheet and the possibility of a sudden rise in local inflation.

The broader all-shares index was also up by 0.34% or 15.35 points.

Regina Capital Development Corp. (Regina) Managing Director Luis A. Limlingan said an upward revision in Philippine gross domestic product (GDP) numbers for 2016 helped. State statisticians on Thursday said GDP growth last year was recast to 6.9%, stronger than the 6.8% initially announced in January.

“Locally the market was prompted by the economy, (which) grew slightly faster than initially estimated back in January, from 6.8% to 6.9%, with upward revisions coming from the construction, mining & quarrying, and other services,” Mr. Limlingan said.

“Looks like it was a risk off today, as investors cashed out due to concerns of a retaliation against the US’ missile strike in Syria. While we ended up, it was way off the intraday high of 7667,” PNB Securities President Manuel Antonio G. Lisbona said.

US President Donald J. Trump made the call to launch 59 missiles in western Syria in response to Damascus’s release of banned chemical weapons that killed at least 100 people.

Mr. Trump made the decision before his meeting with Chinese counterpart Xi Jinping in Florida.

“People are also awaiting the discussion between the two leaders of the largest economies in the world and are hopeful that tensions will ease after the meeting,” Regina’s Mr. Limlingan said.

Four out of six counters gained, with property rising by 0.76% or 24.80 points to close at 3,310.40, followed by mining and oil that gained 0.74% or 88.41 points to end the week at 12,097.97.

Holding firms were up by 0.66% or 49.85 points at 7,656.52, while services added 0.14% or 88.41-point increase at 1591.40.

Financials and industrial stocks both slipped, falling 0.26% or 4.92 points to 1,898.90 and 0.22% or 24.20 points to 11148.11, respectively.

Advancers outpaced decliners, 93 to 80, while 63 stocks were unchanged. The market saw 2.17 billion shares traded for a value turnover of P9.7 billion.

“Next week we might see continued weakness, the magnitude of which will depend on what happens next between the US and Syria. Note that next week is also a short week, so trading will likely be subdued,” Mr. Lisbona said. -- ABF