PH stocks soar on rate cut expectations

Rappler.com
The PSE index rose to 4,677.62, another historic high, as market players anticipate that the monetary board will cut policy rates the next day

MANILA, Philippines – A day before the monetary board meets to decide on policy rates, share prices soared to another historic high on expectations of rate cuts.

At the Philippine Stock Exchange on Thursday, January 18, the composite index, a barometer of economic health, added 34.86 points to close at 4,677.62, overtaking the previous record high of 4,648.11 on January 12.

Investors generally shrugged off local political goings-on, including the impeachment trial against Supreme Court chief justice Renato Corona, now on its third day at the Senate.   

Instead, they focused on external factors, including China’s better-than-expected economic growth, which in turned eased concerns that Europe’s debt woes may drag global growth.

“There’s no bad news and the speculation of a rate cut is encouraging investors to enter the market,” said Astro del Castillo, managing director at First Grade Finance Inc.

“Expectations of a monetary easing within the region encouraged today’s rally, aiding this year’s expansionary measures,” said Freya Natividad, investment analyst at 2TradeAsia.com.

Ayala land and Philippine Long Distance Telephone Co. (PLDT) respectively rose 3.33% and 2.83%, leading the 61 stocks that advanced during the day.

A total of 5.97 billion stocks worth P6.79 billion changed hands.

The Monetary Board will meet for the first time this 2012 on Thursday, January 19. The market consensus point to a rate cut of 0.25 percentage points, but inflation may be a cause of concern.

The local bourse announced the market will be closed on Monday in observance of Chinese New Year. – Rappler.com