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Market climbs; SSI leads gainers

Stocks rose for a second day, tracking the gains on Wall Street following a report that the United States could delay its plan to hit Mexico with tariffs.

The Philippine Stock Exchange index, the 30-company benchmark, picked up 24 points, or 0.3 percent, to close at 7,983.98 on Friday.  This also pushed up total gains since the start of the year to 6.9 percent.

The heavier index, representing all shares, also rose 5 points, or 0.1 percent, to settle at 4,890.79, on a value turnover of P4.3 billion.  Gainers outnumbered losers, 103 to 86, while 48 issues were unchanged.

Eleven of the 20 most active stocks ended in the green, led by retailer SSI Group Inc. which climbed 3.8 percent to P3.51.  BDO Unibank Inc., the largest lender, rose 1.3 percent to P139.80, while conglomerate JG Summit Holdings Inc. of the Gokongwei family went up 1.2 percent to P63.40.

Meanwhile, other Asian markets also traded higher Friday after Bloomberg News reported that Washington could push back its plan to impose tariffs on Mexico on June 10 to allow more time for talks on illegal immigration.

Upbeat comments from Mexican Foreign Minister Marcelo Ebrard, who said the talks with US officials had yielded progress, added to the positive mood.

Export-dependent Mexico has been scrambling to stem the flow of Central American migrants to the US—deploying troops along its border with Guatemala, blocking a new caravan and freezing the bank accounts of suspected human traffickers—in a bid to appease Washington.

“The slightly better tone to the Mexico immigration negotiations has seen all US major equity indices end the day in positive territory,” Rodrigo Catril, strategist at National Australia Bank, said in a commentary.

Tokyo closed 0.5 percent higher Friday. Sydney jumped 1.0 percent and Seoul edged up 0.2 percent while Singapore climbed 0.4 percent. Markets in Hong Kong and mainland China were closed for a public holiday.

European markets made modest gains in early trade, with London and Paris rising 0.5 percent while Frankfurt was up 0.4 percent.

Amid mounting concern for the health of the global economy, central bankers have taken a dovish stance to head off a recession.

The European Central Bank announced on Thursday that it would extend its key interest rates for the eurozone—currently at historic lows—for at least the next six months.

The signals from the ECB have brought relief to investors as the eurozone battles rising worries about growth and inflation.

The trade tensions have lowered overall growth forecasts, with no date set for negotiations to resolve the US-China spat.

“The US-China dispute will drag on, with the next round of talks unclear, with a chance of a meeting of the two leaders in Japan as part of the G20 at the end of June,” said OANDA senior market analyst Alfonso Esparza, adding that the summit could yield “good news”.

“Then again, we have been here before, where an agreement was within reach, only to be snatched away at the last second,” he said. With AFP

Topics: Stock Market , Philippine Stock Exchange Index , Philippine Stock Exchange , PSE , PSEi , SSI
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