PH stocks fall for 3rd straight day

by Warren de Guzman, ANC

Posted at Mar 14 2014 05:26 PM | Updated as of Mar 15 2014 01:26 AM

MANILA, Philippines - Philippine shares fell for a third day alongside other Asian markets, as investors sold risky assets ahead of a referendum in the Ukraine on the Crimean region joining Russia, which could ignite already high tensions between Moscow and the west.

The PSE index closed the day 0.6% lower at 6,391.24. The main index fell 1.4% for the week, marking the local stock market's first weekly loss in over a month.

Japan's Nikkei was a big loser, as investors bought up the safe haven yen, hurting the outlook for exporters and manufacturers.

Asian currencies were also sold, with the peso weakening against the dollar to close at P44.65.

Meanwhile San Miguel Corporation enjoyed its best gains since 2011, rising over nine percent.

Analysts though couldn't point to a clear reason for the surge.Some said investors maybe reacting to San Miguel chief Ramon Ang's resignation from troubled Alphaland, which is fighting delisting proceedings due to violations of disclosure rules.

Luigi Limlingan, managing director of Regina Capital, though noted this is speculative at best.

"RSA's resignation was timed with what happened to Alphaland so people may only infer," he said.

Others said it was positioning ahead of San Miguel's 2013 earnings report. But that is scheduled for release two weeks from now on March 27.

Nisha Alicer, head equity strategist at DA Market Securities however noted that while San Miguel is expected to have doubled profit last year, it is only due to its sale of Meralco shares.

"RSA upped guidance from P39 billion to P57 billion for 2013 full year income, mainly from the sale of its stake in Meralco. Core income will have to be key indicator for company's growth prospects," she said.

Another analyst said it could be reported strong demand for San Miguel Brewery's P20 billion bond sale, which would help ease concerns over the group's cash flow concerns.

Another said San Miguel might be hatching a blockbuster deal as part of its diversification, with Ang known to be shopping several of the group's assets for additional ammunition in his venture into energy and infrastructure.

At this point nothing is certain.

Gokongwei group's JG Summit holdings was the second biggest index gainer behind San Miguel, despite a sharp drop in the profit of its airline business Cebu Air. JG Summit's weight in the MSCI index was raised earlier this month, while it is set to join a FTSE index next week. Both indices are used as investment guides by fund managers.