November 25, 2017 | MANILA, PHILIPPINES

PSEi to rise with ASEAN meet; French polls in focus

THE LOCAL MARKET will be taking cues from the 30th Association of Southeast Asian Nations (ASEAN) Summit taking place in the country this week after a lack of catalysts in previous weeks caused investors to stay on the sidelines.

The Philippine Stock Exchange index (PSEi) rose 0.19% or 14.71 points to close at 7,578.16 on Friday last week, but fell 51.48 points or 0.67% week-on-week from its 7,629.64 finish last April 12.

Early last week, the market was trading flat until it gained momentum on Wednesday, although the PSEi failed to regain hold of the 7,600 level seen two weeks ago in the absence of positive catalysts.

“Traders were on cautious mode for most of the week, as participants trailed headlines on geopolitical tensions,” online brokerage said in a market note.

“[This] week, markets may take their cues from the arrival of the ASEAN delegates. There is the possibility of earlier window dressing due to a shortened trading period,” Regina Capital Development Corp. Managing Director Luis A. Limlingan said.

The government has suspended regular work in public and private offices in some parts of Metro Manila on April 27 and 28 in light of the ASEAN summit. The country will be hosting leaders of ASEAN-member nations in the Philippine International Convention Center in Pasay City.

“Market players will check details on Dutertenomics, especially on highlights of expanding the percentage share of infra[structure] spending to 5.7% of GDP (gross domestic product),” said, referring to the Dutertenomics forum held earlier last week, which gathered economic managers to highlight the Duterte administration’s plan to hike spending for infrastructure development, dubbing the president’s six-year term as the “Golden Age of Infrastructure.”

Regina Capital’s Mr. Limlingan added that markets may be affected by the result of the French presidential election, as well as the release of manufacturing data in the US.

Voting began in France on Sunday in the first round of a bitterly fought presidential election that is crucial to the future of Europe and a closely-watched test of voters’ anger with the political establishment.

The outcome will be anxiously monitored around the world as a sign of whether the populist tide that saw Britain vote to leave the EU and Donald Trump’s election in the United States is still rising, or starting to ebb.

Emmanuel Macron, 39, a centrist ex-banker who set up his party just a year ago, is the opinion polls’ favorite to win the first round and beat far-right National Front chief Marine Le Pen in the two-person run-off on May 7.

Meanwhile, US manufacturing data is scheduled for release on Thursday.

Analysts placed immediate support for the bellwether PSEi at 7,500, while resistance was pegged at 7,650. -- Arra B. Francia with Reuters