November 23, 2017 | MANILA, PHILIPPINES

Philippine stocks post uptick, buck Asian trend

THE LOCAL bourse bucked the trend as major Asian markets saw a decline on Thursday, after minutes from the US Federal Reserve’s last meeting did not provide a clear picture on the pace of future interest rate hikes.

The Philippine Stock Exchange index (PSEi) added 39.47 points or 0.50% to close at 7,888.31 on Thursday. The all-shares index also rose 0.51% or 24.15 points higher at 4,736.85.

“The market received a shot in the arm from foreigners who posted strong net foreign buying of P507 million, reversing two days of net selling,” RCBC Securities, Inc. said in its stock market daily report.

Harry G. Liu, Summit Securities, Inc. president, said the market is expected to continue hovering sideways in the next two weeks, on the lack of fresh leads.

“The market so far is still consolidating. It’s waiting for a good news to perk it up, right now we’re just within the technical movement, between the support of 7,750 to 7,800, that’s the consolidation. If anything positive can come it’s definitely the opening of the Congress on the 24th for the tax package, so that’s as soon as possible,” Harry G. Liu, Summit Securities, Inc. president, said in a phone interview.

In a mobile phone message, Luis A. Limlingan, managing director of Regina Capital Development Corp., said the market went on bargain hunting mode as the US resumed trading after the July 4th holiday.

RCBC Securities noted the PSEi has continued to stay within its trading range of 7,800-7,900 since the start of this week.

Sectoral counters, except for mining and oil, were in the green on Thursday. Financials added 9.20 points or 0.47% to 1,947.95; while industrials went up by 42.76 points or 0.39% to 11,147.21.

Holding firms rose 51.16 points or 0.65% to 7,924.13, while services climbed 3.92 points or 0.23% to 1,697.06, and property jumped 14.24 points or 0.39% to 3,647.15.

The mining index slipped 0.16% or 20.44 points to end at 12,628.40.

Value turnover reached P7.48 billion on Thursday, up 0.58% from the previous day’s P6.46 billion.

Advancers outnumbered losers 86 to 68, with 102 unchanged.

Shares in Metro Pacific Investments Corp. went up 4% to end trading at P6.69 apiece, amid speculation the conglomerate will receive a favorable arbitration ruling in its dispute over water rates with the government regulator.

Other gainers included Ayala Corp. (+1.40%), LT Group (+2.22%), DMCI Holdings (+1.66%) and SM Investments Corp. (+0.19%).

Meanwhile, most Asian equities retreated as energy shares fell and investors absorbed details of the US Federal Reserve’s most recent meeting.

The MSCI AC Asia Pacific Index lost 0.2% as of 4:35 p.m. in Hong Kong, swinging between losses and gains earlier. The benchmark Asian stocks gauge has declined 0.4% this week.

Equities from Japan to Singapore and Australia fell, while those in India and Indonesia advanced. -- Arra B. Francia with Bloomberg