November 21, 2017 | MANILA, PHILIPPINES

PSEi hits 8-month peak on Macron, GDP bets

PHILIPPINE STOCKS soared yesterday to lift the benchmark index to its highest in eight months amid general optimism on the Philippine economy and favorable results of the French presidential polls.

The bellwether Philippine Stock Exchange index (PSEi) surged 120.34 points or 1.53% to end Monday’s trading at 7,962.33, its highest finish since settling at 7,981.21 on Aug. 22, 2016 and ending at 8,127.48 on April 10, 2015.

The wider all-shares index climbed 57.85 points or 1.23% to 4,731.25, extending its rally from the 4,673.40 last week.

“The market is basically heading towards the positive sentiment. Economic numbers seem to be improving and there are no changes on the fundamental side. There’s a positive outlook in general and the market also welcomed the outcome of the French election,” Summit Securities, Inc. President Harry G. Liu said via phone interview yesterday.

“Locally, the economic managers continue create a good economic environment and there’s nothing to alter that positive sentiment.”

Unicapital Securities, Inc. Head of Research Lexter L. Azurin said the rally was driven by the French election result, improved global economic outlook and anticipation of good first quarter Philippine gross domestic product (GDP) numbers.

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“The market rallied to new highs on the back of the French election with Macron seen as pro-business and anticipation of favorable GDP figures. First quarter earnings reports of local companies also came in-line with expectations with others beating estimates,” Mr. Azurin said via phone.

“Investors are also looking forward to the first quarter GDP numbers as most of them are betting on good numbers with initial statements from government coming in optimistic,” he added.

The first quarter GDP data is due out on May 18, with Socioeconomic Planning Secretary Ernesto M. Pernia saying that the economy likely grew around 7% during the period, a pace he said would be sustained this second quarter.

The French election on Sunday was keenly watched as it will determine whether Emmanuel Macron, a pro-European Union centrist, or Marine Le Pen, a far-rightist known for her anti-EU stance, will lead the euro zone’s second largest economy.

All counters saw gains yesterday with property leading the gains surging 103.69 points or 2.97% to 3,591.25, followed by services which rose 29.80 points or 1.82% to 1,662.31. Mining and oil also climbed 198.70 points or 1.57% to 12,809.68; holding firms up 95.15 points or 1.19% to 8,050.64; financials up 13.11 points or 0.68% to 1,940.06 and industrials which saw an increase of 41.19 points or 0.35% to close at 11,525.86 on Monday.

The market witnessed 116 stocks advance versus the 81 that declined and 42 that remained unchanged.