Philippine stocks up, other SE Asia markets down

A trader blows a horn on the last day of trading for year 2016 at the Philippine Stock Exchange on Dec 29, 2016. Philippine shares were bullish on Thursday. (Reuters photo)

Philippine shares surged nearly 2% to a record close on Thursday, underpinned by hopes of robust economic growth in the third quarter, while other Southeast Asian markets closed lower, with Indonesia slipping from an all-time peak.

The Philippine index closed 1.8% higher, with financials and real estate stocks accounting for the gains, as the market resumed trading after a two-day holiday.

“Investors are optimistic that third-quarter numbers will be better than expected,” said Jose L. Vistan, research head at Manila-based AB Capital Securities.

The country’s third-quarter inflation data is due on Tuesday and gross domestic product data is due on Nov 16. 

Property developer Megaworld was among the top gainers on the index, closing up 6.9% at its highest in over two-and-a-half years, after saying it would turn over 1,000 residential units in Makati Central Business District this year for a total sales value of 9 billion pesos (US$175.1 million).

Meanwhile, other stock markets in the region declined ahead of the nomination of the next head of the US Federal Reserve.

The White House plans to nominate current Fed governor Jerome Powell as the next chair when Janet Yellen’s term expires in February, a source familiar with the matter said on Wednesday.

“The most important factor right now is whether the new Fed chair would tighten quantitative easing faster than what market expects,” said Taye Shim, head of research at Jakarta-based Mirae Asset Sekuritas.

Singapore shares closed down 0.3%, dragged by the banking sector, with heavyweight Oversea-Chinese Banking Corp shedding 1.2%.

Indonesia retreated from a record high scaled earlier in the session, closing down marginally, as investors booked profits. 

“Foreigners are still buying Indonesian equities so no big change in sentiment, it is primarily driven by local institutions taking profit,” said Shim.

Consumer staples such as Unilever Indonesia, which fell 1.1%, weighed down the index.

“Prolonged low inflation environment is likely to keep business environment unfriendly for staples manufacturers,” said Shim.

Indonesia’s annual inflation rate eased for a fourth straight month in October, reaching its lowest level since January.

Southeast Asian stock markets





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