January 24, 2018, 1:45 am
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PSEi nears 8,400 mark

Philippine shares were the only gainers in the region yesterday, with the main index closing for a seventh winning session in eight, as expectations of a tax overhaul continued to underpin sentiment.

The Philippine Stock Exchange index (PSEi) was up by 30.66 points to close at 8,398.04.

Losers edged gainers 103 to 91 with 51 stocks unchanged.  Trading turnover reached P7.17 billion.  

“Philippine markets closed at yet another all-time high, and just short of the 8,400 marker. This come from the reversal  of the US with the  Dow and S&P breaking their streak with just small losses yesterday, said Luis Limlingan, managing director at Regina Capital Development Corp. 

“Economic activity was seen stabilizing with cude oil prices edging higher on Monday morning, stabilizing after a 3 percent slump on Friday. Prices had tumbled last week as oil producers in the Gulf of Mexico shuttered operations ahead of Tropical Storm Nate. Around 71 percent of Gulf oil production was shut down ahead of the storm’s arrival,” he added.

Limlingan said export and import data may have buoyed the market with little activity happening in the US. 

“Exports beat the the median estimate climbing 9.4 percent versus the median of 8.1 percent. Imports rose 10.5 percent y/y versus estimate of 3 percent drop, trade deficit $2.4 billion, preliminary data from Philippine Statistics Authority,” he said.

The country’s Senate will discuss today the tax reform proposal, which is crucial to President Rodrigo Duterte’s ambitious plans to foster higher, sustainable growth.

The tax measures, approved by the lower house of Congress in May, seek to expand the value-added tax base, raise excise taxes on fuel and automobiles, and slap levies on sugar-sweetened beverages among other changes.

The country’s trade deficit widened to $2.41 billion in August from the previous month’s $1.65 billion, data showed on Tuesday. 

Security Bank the top gainer on the index, climbed 2.4 percent.

Southeast Asian stock markets trod water on Tuesday as investors steered clear of riskier assets ahead of the release of the Federal Reserve’s September meeting minutes on Wednesday, awaiting clues on the pace of future US rate increases.

Expectations that improved prospects for the US economy would prompt the Fed to raise interest rates later this year have led to the strengthening of the dollar over the past month. 

Interest rate futures are now pricing in a near 90 percent chance that the Fed will raise rates again in December.

“The sentiment what we see now is the shift of funds from the emerging markets back to the developed countries, particularly to US as the US economy is showing signs of recovery,” said Lexter Azurin, an analyst with Manila-based AB Capital Securities.  – Reuters
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