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Stock market rises; PNB advances

The stock market rose Thursday on expectations the Bangko Sentral ng Pilipinas will keep interest rates in a policy meeting late in the day.

The Philippine Stock Exchange Index gained 41.85 points, or 0.5 percent, to 8,100.30 on a value turnover of P7.4 billion. Losers, however, beat gainers, 115 to 96, with 47 issues unchanged. 

The inflation rate in January fell to a 10-month low of 4.4 percent from 5.1 percent in December, giving the central bank time to pause from recent interest rate hikes.

Premiere Horizon Alliance Corp. advanced 8.7 percent to P1.37. The company last month obtained a €250-million (P15 billion) fund facility from Sama Global Investment, a global investment fund with headquarters in Doha, Qatar, which it could use to finance its foray into real estate, tourism hospitality, tourism and infrastructure construction, power generation, financial services and other allied projects.

Philippine National Bank, the fifth largest lender in terms of assets, climbed 4.8 percent to P49, while SM Investments Corp. of the SM Group added 2 percent to P1,000.

ISM Communications Corp., a member of the consortium declared by the government as the country’s third major telecommunications firm, fell 2.8 percent to P6.55.

The rest of Asian markets mostly rose Thursday as regional investors began to return from their Lunar New Year break, though Tokyo edged lower after a negative lead from Wall Street.

Most trading floors have re-opened but business remains light, with Hong Kong and Shanghai still closed, while focus turns on the resumption next week of China-US trade talks in Beijing.

The two sides will try to hammer out a deal to resolve their long-running tariffs row, with markets broadly hopeful just three weeks before a deadline that will see the US more than double levies on hundreds of billions of dollars worth of Chinese goods.

Donald Trump has said he plans to meet his Chinese counterpart Xi Jinping before the end of the month to put the finishing touches to any deal, which would be in both countries’ interest as the global economy begins to wobble.

Sydney climbed more than one percent and Wellington put on 0.7 percent with investors cheered by the prospect of an extended period of low interest rates.

Seoul edged up 0.1 percent and Singapore put on 0.8 percent while Jakarta was also well up.

However, Tokyo fell 0.6 percent despite a near 18 percent surge in SoftBank, its biggest rise in a decade, fueled by news of a $5.5-billion share buyback using cash from last month’s listing of its mobile phone unit.

On currency markets the New Zealand dollar tanked more than one percent on the back of weak jobs data, while the Australian dollar extended Wednesday’s sell-off that was fueled by comments from the country’s top central banker hinting interest rates would not rise any time soon.

Analysts pointed to their correlation to China’s economy, which is stuttering at the moment, uncertainty on Wall Street and nervousness ahead of the trade talks. With AFP

Topics: stock market , Philippine Stock Exchange , PSE , Philippine Stock Exchange Index , PSEi , PNB
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