PSEi hits new 14-month high


Posted at Aug 19 2014 06:06 PM | Updated as of Aug 20 2014 02:06 AM

MANILA, Philippines - The Philippine Stock Exchange index (PSEi) hit a new 14-month high, ahead of the weight increase of several blue chip companies in the MSCI Philippine index.

Among the companies that will get a weighting increase are PLDT, which gained 0.43 percent. Ayala Land and Ayala Corp. also rose, while the Lopez group's Energy Development Corp. surged 2.3 percent.

The MSCI index is used by foreign investors as a guide to the Philippine stock market.

On the other hand, Petron bucked Tuesday's upswing, falling to an 11-month low, after its employee retirement fund sold a 4 percent stake at a discount.

Overall, the main index added 0.79 percent to 7,082.75.

At the foreign exchange market, the peso strengthened to close at P43.64 against the dollar.

Asian shares gain as Ukraine fears recede

Meanwhile, Asian shares rose Tuesday following a bounce on Wall Street as fears ebbed of a direct military clash between Russia and Ukraine and the focus turned to a keynote speech this week by the US Federal Reserve chief.

Tokyo gained 0.83 percent, or 127.19 points, to 15,449.79 and Seoul added 0.88 percent, or 18.01 points, to 2,071.14.

Sydney rose 0.66 percent, or 36.7 points, to 5,623.8.

Global mining giant BHP posted a 23.2 percent jump in annual net profit and said it would create a new independent company by spinning off non-core assets to reduce costs and boost productivity.

Shares in BHP closed 1.35 percent higher ahead of the announcement.

Hong Kong climbed 0.67 percent, or 167.49 points, to 25,122.95 and Shanghai ended up 0.26 percent, or 5.86 points, at 2,245.33

The gains came after US stocks rebounded Monday from last week's Ukraine-linked setback, with the Dow surging and the Nasdaq reaching a 14-year high.

The Dow Jones Industrial Average finished up 1.06 percent at 16,838.74 while the broad-based S&P 500 added 0.85 percent to 1,971.74.

The Dow had led a sell-off Friday as news that Ukrainian artillery had destroyed part of a Russian military column spooked investors.

But Russia on Monday said that "certain progress" had been made during a marathon meeting in Berlin between the two countries' foreign ministers and their counterparts from Germany and France.

The tech-rich Nasdaq Composite gained 0.97 percent to 4,508.31 -- its highest level since March 31, 2000, when the market was on the cusp of a nearly 4,000-point crash as the tech bubble burst.

In forex markets, the dollar was at 102.62 yen in afternoon Asian trade, up from 102.57 yen in New York late Monday and 102.32 yen in Tokyo earlier Monday.

The greenback is expected to bounce in volatile forex trading this week, ahead of a speech on Friday by US Federal Reserve chief Janet Yellen at the central bank's annual economic policy symposium. Investors will be looking for any hint of a change to the Fed's interest rate plans.

Last month Yellen told Congress the Fed would hold its near-zero interest rate policy until the US economy strengthens, but may raise rates if the jobs market keeps improving.

Later Tuesday, investors were looking to US inflation data for July to get a snapshot of the state of the world's number one economy.

The euro bought $1.3351 and 137.04 yen against $1.3363 and 137.05 yen in US trade.

In oil markets, US benchmark West Texas Intermediate for September delivery rose 38 cents to $96.79 while Brent crude for October was up 23 cents to $101.83.

Gold traded at $1,300.62 an ounce at 0843 GMT compared to $1,302.22 an ounce late Monday. - With ANC and Agence France-Presse