PSEi hits 20th record close for 2015

ABS-CBN News

Posted at Mar 26 2015 07:45 PM | Updated as of Mar 27 2015 03:46 AM

MANILA, Philippines - The Philippine Stock Exchange index rose for a second day, led by blue chip stocks like JG Summit and the Lopez Group's power companies.

The PSEi posted its 20th record close for the year, ending Thursday’s session at 7,871.10, up 0.4 percent.

The previous record close was 7,861.33 on March 6.

"The country’s benchmark index closed ahead of its Asian counterparts as investors anticipate positive earnings results from more companies for the full year 2014. Investor confidence in our listed companies continues to sustain the upward trajectory of our market," PSE COO Roel A. Refran.

Investors were waiting for the earnings report of the Gokongwei Group's holding company - JG Summit, which is due out on Friday.

Energy Development Corp. and First Gen Corp., as well as Ayala Land Inc. were also big gainers.

Philippine shares bucked a regional downswing, as investors in most global markets were spooked by escalating violence in Yemen.

At the foreign exchange market, the peso weakened to P44.83 against the US dollar.

Asian markets follow Wall St lower after US data

Asian markets mostly wound back Thursday, in-line with a hefty sell-off on Wall Street, after surprisingly weak US data hinted at ongoing weakness in the world's number one economy.

The euro broke above $1.10, boosted by receding expectations of an early US rate hike and upbeat indicators out of the eurozone.

Oil prices also enjoyed support from concerns about unrest in the crude-rich Middle East following news that Saudi jets had struck rebel positions in neighbouring Yemen.

Tokyo tumbled 1.39 percent, or 275.08 points, to 19,471.12 after touching a 15-year high this week, while Sydney sank 1.58 percent, or 94.22 points, to close at 5,879.1 and Seoul fell 0.99 percent, or 20.25 points, to 2,022.56.

Hong Kong lost 0.13 percent, dropping 31.15 points to 24,497.08, but Shanghai gained 0.58 percent, or 21.37 points, to 3,682.10, having fallen Wednesday for the first time in 11 sessions.

US investors ran for the sidelines Wednesday after the Commerce Department said durable goods orders fell in February after January's gain.

While the news will likely put back the Federal Reserve's timeline on when to raise interest rates, it was taken Wednesday by investors as a sign of weakness, fuelling fears about the global outlook.

The Nasdaq fell 2.37 percent, the Dow tumbled 1.62 percent and the S&P 500 gave up 1.46 percent.

"Wall Street is struggling to add to its recent record high and it looks like the upward momentum is starting to show signs of fatigue," Matthew Sherwood, head of investment markets research in Sydney at Perpetual Ltd., told Bloomberg News.

"Asia has an advantage over the US as Asia has cheaper valuations. What's weighing on Asia is the performance of the Chinese economy, which is facing some growth roadblocks."

Dollar struggles

Banking giant HSBC this week revealed its preliminary gauge of Chinese manufacturing activity had hit an 11-month low, indicating it was in contraction. That comes after a string of releases showing the Asian economic giant struggling.

The dollar -- suffering recent losses after the Fed dampened talk of an early summer rate rise -- came under further pressure after the latest figures.

In Tokyo it bought 118.66 yen, compared with 119.43 yen in New York and well off the 119.62 yen in Tokyo earlier Wednesday.

The euro bought $1.1011 and 130.65 yen against $1.0973 and 131.05 yen.

The single currency has bounced against the dollar since slumping below $1.05 last week, before the Fed announcement.

The euro was boosted by a closely watched Ifo economic institute index on business confidence in Europe's biggest economy Germany, which rose to 107.9 in March, the highest level since July 2014.

Another report showed eurozone business activity near a four-year high in March.

Oil extended gains in Asia as investors eye events in Yemen, where Saudi Arabia carried out strikes against Huthi rebels as part of a regional coalition in a bid to save the government of President Abedrabbo Mansour Hadi and prevent civil war.

US benchmark West Texas Intermediate surged $2.63 to $51.84 while Brent rose $2.83 to $59.31 in afternoon trade.

WTI advanced $1.70 and Brent gained $1.37 Wednesday on news Hadi was rushed to a "secure location" after his presidential complex was attacked.

Gold fetched $1,205.54 against $1,195.51 late Wednesday. - With reports from ANC and Agence France-Presse