Local shares inch up to fresh peak despite selling

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By Krista A.M. Montealegre,
National Correspondent

LOCAL STOCKS scored another record high on Thursday despite facing selling pressure in early trade, with analysts suggesting that the equities market may be headed for a breather after rallying at the start of the year.

Local shares inch up to fresh peak despite sellingThe bellwether Philippine Stock Exchange index (PSEi) inched up 15.70 points or 0.18% to end at a fresh all-time high of 8,739.83, marking the fourth consecutive session that the index registered new peaks.

The wider all-shares index added 5.10 points or 0.10% to finish at 5,059.75.

“The market was marginally up. It was a sideways market because some people are taking money off the table,” Miko A. Sayo, trader at AP Securities, said in an interview.

“What we are seeing right now is investors are positioning for bellwether stocks expected to outperform the market this year,” Lexter L. Azurin, senior equity analyst at AB Capital Securities, Inc., said in a separate interview.

Sy-led SM Investments Corp. and SM Prime Holdings, Inc. as well as Ty-owned GT Capital Holdings, Inc. and Metropolitan Bank and Trust Co. were the biggest index movers, Mr. Azurin said, noting that these stocks are expected to benefit from the comprehensive tax reform program.

SM gained 0.96% to P1,050 each and SM Prime rose 1.94% to P39.50 apiece, while GT Capital surged 2.40% to P1,324 per share and Metrobank jumped 2.20% to P106.90 each.

“The market is quite optimistic about the prospects this year following the passage of the tax reform program, which is the very essence of the infrastructure push of the government. This means we are moving forward,” Mr. Azurin said.

Asian markets finished higher, tracking the record performance of major indexes in Wall Street and increase in crude oil prices to their highest level since December 2014.

Back home, holding firms advanced 60.62 points or 0.68% to 8,931.01; financials climbed 11.34 points or 0.50% to 2,251.98; and industrials went up 44.91 points or 0.39% to 11,344.29.

Meanwhile, services lost 18.37 points or 1.12% to 1,618.41; mining and oil fell 69.53 points or 0.59% to 11,529.27; and property shed 14.26 points or 0.35% to 4,054.24.

Value turnover accelerated to P9.17 billion from P7.29 billion on Wednesday, as 1.03 billion shares changed hands.

Market breadth was negative as decliners dominated advancers, 121 to 86, while 47 issues closed flat.

Net foreign selling stood at P509.95 million on Thursday, ending six straight sessions of net foreign buying.

“We’re obviously very bullish, but we are in overbought levels so we might consolidate for now,” AP Securities’ Mr. Sayo said, penciling in support at the 8,500 to 8,600 band.