PSEi hits new record high
MANILA, Philippines - Philippine stocks once again hit a new all-time high, joining other Asian markets higher after the European Central Bank unveiled its aggressive stimulus measures.
The Philippine Stock Exchange index on Friday closed at 7,548.93, up by 132.62 points or 1.8 percent. The previous record close was 7,490.88 last January 14, 2015.
Friday's closing number was also the new all-time intraday high of the PSEi. Year-to-date, the PSEi is already up by 4.4 percent.
"With the moderate slowdown in China’s economy, coupled with Japan’s economic recession and Europe’s debt crisis, and notwithstanding the US economic resurgence, emerging markets such as the Philippines will stand out due to its strong macro-economic fundamentals and sustainable growth story. The positive sentiments by the market as regards the European Central Bank quantitative easing program further propelled our market to an all-time high,” said PSE COO Roel A. Refran.
The ECB announced it will inject at least 1.1 trillion euros into the ailing eurozone economy. The central bank will buy 60 billion euro of bonds each month until the end of September 2016 or even longer in what is called quantitative easing.
Among the day's big gainers included First Gen Corp., LT Group, Metrobank, JG Summit Holdings and SM Investments.
JG Summit rose 2.09 percent to P63.40, Metrobank climbed 3.28 percent to P92.95 and Ayala Land was up 1.58 percent at P35.40.
At the foreign exchange market, the peso strengthened to P44.18 against the US dollar.
Asia stocks surge on ECB move
Meanwhile, Asian equity markets rallied Friday after the European Central Bank announced a huge cash injection to kickstart the eurozone economy, while crude prices surged on news the monarch of oil kingpin Saudi Arabia had died.
The ECB's unprecedented decision to pump tens of billions of dollars a month into financial markets sent the euro plunging to 11-year lows against the dollar and also fuelled a buying spree in US and European stock markets.
Tokyo jumped 1.05 percent, or 182.73 points, to 17,511.75 and Sydney added 1.51 percent, or 81.90 points, to 5501.80, with energy firms lifted by the stronger oil prices. Seoul gained 0.79 percent, or 15.27 points, to 1,936.09.
Hong Kong climbed 1.34 percent, or 327.82 points to 24,850.45 and Shanghai added 0.25 percent, or 8.42 points, to 3,351.76.
After a much-anticipated policy meeting Thursday ECB chief Mario Draghi said it would buy 60 billion euros ($69 billion) a month of private and public bonds from March until September 2016, with the total programme valued at over 1.0 trillion euros. Analysts had forecast 50 billion euros.
The programme, known as quantitative easing (QE), had been widely predicted following a string of weak inflation figures out of the eurozone that culminated in a fall in prices in December for the first time in five years.
That sparked fears of a spiral of deflation and a long period of anaemic economic growth in the 19-nation currency bloc.
"Market expectations were high and Draghi managed to surprise even the highest of expectations," Nader Naeimi, Sydney-based head of dynamic asset allocation at AMP Capital Investors, told Bloomberg News.
"It clearly puts the ECB on the front foot. It should help to stabilise European growth."
The announcement means the bank will effectively be printing more euros, pushing down the value of the single currency.
Euro near 11-year low
At one point Thursday the euro tumbled to an 11-year low of $1.1316 before recovering slightly to $1.1359 by the end of the day. On Friday afternoon it bought $1.1347.
It was also at 134.11 yen Friday, against 134.63 yen in US trade and well down from 136.80 yen earlier Thursday in Asia.
The dollar was at 118.17 yen compared with 118.52 yen in New York.
The two main global crude contracts surged Friday following the death of King Abdullah of Saudi Arabia, the key member of the OPEC cartel that has refused to lower production despite a supply glut.
In afternoon Asian trade on Friday, US benchmark West Texas Intermediate for March delivery was up 83 cents, or 1.79 percent, at $47.14 a barrel. Brent crude for March jumped $1.08, or 2.23 percent, to $49.60.
King Abdullah bin Abdul Aziz was replaced by Crown Prince Salman, the royal court said in a statement.
"As we are uncertain of how the new king would react to the current supply glut, we believe that the market is pricing in this uncertainty, causing prices to spike," said Daniel Ang, an investment analyst with Phillip Futures in Singapore.
The jump in prices comes as a relief to energy firms after months of sharp falls caused by weak global demand, an oversupply of the black gold and OPEC's decision last year to maintain production levels.
Saudi Arabia rejected calls from some members to slash output, preferring instead to lower prices in a bid to gain market share.
Among Asian energy companies Sydney-listed Woodside jumped 2.32 percent and Santos rallied 5.12 percent by the end of the day, while in Tokyo Inpex climbed 1.63 percent.
In Hong Kong trade PetroChina ended 2.76 percent higher and Sinopec added 1.61 percent.
Gold fetched $1,294.55 an ounce, against $1,286.66 late Thursday. With ANC and Agence France-Presse