Stock market up slightly; DITO, AC Energy advance


The stock market virtually closed flat Monday, as investors weighed rising inflation and the possible move of the Bangko Sentral ng Pilipinas on policy rates in a meeting later this week.

The Philippine Stock Exchange Index added 5.30 points, or 0.08 percent, to 7,024.48 on a value turnover of just P2.8 billion. Losers edged gainers, 98 to 93, with 38 issues unchanged.

DITO CME Holdings Corp., the third major mobile phone company, advanced 7.4 percent to P15.62, while Nickel Asia Corp., the biggest nickel miner, climbed 6 percent to P5.67.

AC Energy Corp., a unit of conglomerate Ayala Corp., rose 3.6 percent to P7.48, while Converge Information And Communications Technology Solutions Inc., a fiber internet service provider, gained 3.4 percent at P17.78.

Meanwhile, hopes that US lawmakers would pass President Joe Biden’s huge stimulus package helped push Asian markets higher again Monday, while Brent oil broke $60 as traders were also cheered by falling coronavirus infection rates and vaccine rollouts.

After a rout at the end of January, the global rally across equities appeared to be back on track, despite concerns that valuations may have become a little too frothy.

A well-below-forecast jobs report out of the United States ramped up expectations that Congress would pass Biden’s $1.9 trillion spending bill in the next few weeks.

Figures showed the economy created less than half the jobs than expected last month, which analysts said reinforced the need for a new, big rescue package to go alongside the Federal Reserve’s ultra-loose monetary policy.

Treasury Secretary Janet Yellen warned on Sunday that the US job market was “stalling” and might not recover for years without support. But she told CNN that if the spending package was passed, “we would get back to full employment next year.”

Axi strategist Stephen Innes said: “The US January employment report is nearly perfect from a market point of view as it will justify full-throttle stimulus from both monetary and fiscal concerns.

“For President Biden in particular, payrolls make quite a big difference, providing the justification he needs to go full steam ahead towards $1.9 trillion. Unquestionably… there will be a growing belief that he could get relatively close to that number through reconciliation.”

All three main indexes on Wall Street ended on a positive note, with the Nasdaq and S&P 500 clocking up new records, and Asia followed suit to extend last week’s strong gains.

Tokyo led the advance, putting on more than two percent to sit at levels not seen in three decades, while Shanghai, Mumbai, Bangkok, Jakarta all climbed around one percent.

There were also gains in Hong Kong, Sydney and Singapore, though Seoul was in the red.

“It does seem to be the case that global markets have now become addicted to stimulus and that the greatest risk to the outlook—and potential trigger for a correction in risk-asset valuations—would be central banks dialing down the music,” said First Abu Dhabi Bank’s Simon Ballard. With AFP

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