December 12, 2017 | MANILA, PHILIPPINES

Stocks up after French presidential election

LOCAL STOCKS rose slightly on Monday, as investors adopted a wait-and-see approach after the results of the first round of France’s presidential election and ahead of the Association of Southeast Asian Nations (ASEAN) Summit in Manila this week.

The bellwether index closed 0.14% or 10.72 points higher at 7,588.88. The broader all-shares index likewise ended 0.23% or 10.71 points up to 4,542.81.

“Philippine markets were in a wait-and-see mode,” Regina Capital Development Corp. Managing Director Luis A. Limlingan said, citing the French elections as one of the international developments closely watched by investors.

Moderate candidate Emmanuel Macron won the first round, and is expected to beat far-right opponent Marine Le Pen in a run-off next month, easing global concerns on the future of the European Union.

Markets were looking at the French vote as a measure of populist sentiment, after the election of US President Donald J. Trump and Britain’s vote to leave the European Union last year.

“Elsewhere, US President Donald Trump promised to make an announcement about much anticipated tax reform next week, but it was not immediately clear how much he would reveal or what form it would take,” Mr. Limlingan said.

Local investors were also looking ahead to the Philippines’ hosting of the 30th ASEAN Summit this week.

“The market is still sideways in nature, it’s almost the same as last week. Traders are waiting for the information that would come out from the ASEAN summit,” Summit Securities President Harry G. Liu said in a phone interview.

Mr. Liu also cited the implementation of the tax reform program and the government’s infrastructure boost as the factors that will continue to affect trading this week.

SM Investments Corp. was one of the day’s most actively traded stocks, after it disclosed the completion of the acquisition of a 62.2% stake in Philippines Urban Living Solutions, Inc., the developer and operator of MyTown dormitories. Shares in SMIC slipped 0.21% to close at P709.50 apiece.

Sectoral counters were mostly up, with services leading the uptick at 0.61% or 9.71 points to close at 1,587.83 followed by financials which rose 0.41% or 7.72 points to 1,878.79; and industrial which increased 0.22% or 25.25 points to 11,294.04.

Holding firms barely moved, up 0.01% to 7,690.05.

The property counter, meanwhile, declined 0.39% or 13.15 points to 3,313.02, while mining and oil also fell 0.20% or 24.25 points to 11,955.13.

Decliners outpaced advancers, 109 to 84, while 52 issues remained unchanged.

Total value turnover was at P5.15 billion, as 2.19 billion shares changed hands. Overseas investors were net buyers of Philippine stocks, with net purchases of P153.94 million.

“For the resistance, that is within the range of 7,650 to 7,800. On the support side we have up till 7,500,” Mr. Liu said. -- A.B. Francia