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Stocks vault to new high, outperform in Asia

The Philippine Stock Exchange index soared 146.94 points, or 1.75 percent, to hit a new record high of 8,523.07. This marks another record high for the benchmark index and raises the possibility that the index may revisit and close above the 8,600 level in the days to come. File

MANILA, Philippines — The stock market started the week on a positive note yesterday, revisiting the 8,600 level as investors welcomed the initial string of third quarter corporate earnings results, analysts said.

The Philippine Stock Exchange index soared 146.94 points, or 1.75 percent, to hit a new record high of 8,523.07. This marks another record high for the benchmark index and raises the possibility that the index may revisit and close above the 8,600 level in the days to come.

The broader All Shares gauge was up 69.70 points, or 1.42 percent, to settle at 4,968.60.

Traders said the index’s attempts to revisit the all time intraday high of 8,600 indicates that investors are still generally optimistic despite the outflow of foreign funds on Friday.

The local stock market outperformed its peers in Asia, they said.

All sectoral indexes were likewise in an upbeat mood led by the holding firms with a 2.45 percent gain. This was followed closely by the industrial sector index, which gained 1.85 percent.

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Total value turnover reached P7.287 billion. Market breadth was positive as advancing stocks beat decliners, 105 to 95, while 41 issues were left unchanged.

Regina Capital’s Luis Limlingan said the rebound in US stocks also provided additional boost to the market.

“Philippine stocks bounced back from the slump after US stocks closed at records on Friday, with major indexes extending their lengthy upward moves on the back of strong results at Apple, which offset a mixed set of economic data, including a weaker October jobs report,” Limlingan said.

Limlingan said market investors remain optimistic ahead of the upcoming ASEAN summit which will see state leaders visit the country and the much awaited meeting of President Duterte and US President Donald Trump.

Third quarter corporate earnings results would also be closely watched by investors, he said.

“This week will be dominated by headlines surrounding Trump’s tour of Asia, but in the background earnings continue to deserve attention,” he said.

Meanwhile, Asian shares stepped back from recent decade highs yesterday while major currencies held in tight ranges and oil jumped to a more than two-year peak as Saudi Arabia’s crown prince cemented his power through an anti-corruption crackdown.

Oil prices hit their highest since July 2015 as Mohammed bin Salman’s purge led to arrests of royals, ministers and investors including prominent business billionaire Alwaleed bin Talal. 

The news stirred concerns of Middle East money pulling out of some Asian markets. In addition, a weekend call by China’s central bank governor for tougher financial regulation hit investor sentiment.

MSCI’s broadest index of Asia-Pacific shares outside Japan slipped 0.2 percent to drift away from Friday’s top of 557.9, the highest since November 2007.

South Korea’s KOSPI, which hit a record high last week, skidded 0.6 percent early on before paring losses to 0.3 percent. Hong Kong’s Hang Seng Index fell 0.2 percent. The Hong Kong China Enterprises Index lost 0.9 percent.

Japan’s Nikkei eked out a small gain to hover around a 21-year peak.

Near-term sentiment in the market will be dictated by news related to US President Donald Trump’s Asian tour this week.

In his second day in Japan, Trump ramped up his tough rhetoric against North Korea, saying the US and its allies are prepared to defend freedom.

The US president wants a united front with the leaders of Japan and South Korea before he visits Beijing to make the case to Chinese President Xi Jinping that more needs to be done to rein in Pyongyang. Trump also plans to meet Russian counterpart Vladimir Putin during his 12-day trip.      

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