Philippine stocks break 8,700 level to open 2018

MANILA, Philippines (UPDATED) – Philippine stocks achieved another new record on the 1st trading day of 2018, breaching the 8,700 level for the first time in history.

On Wednesday, January 3, the Philippine Stock Exchange index (PSEi) was at 8,724.13 points, up by 165.71 or 1.94% from last Friday, December 29. All sectoral indices also ended higher, with the Holding Firms and Property counters up the most, gaining 2.95% and 2.27%, respectively.

Value turnover was at P7.29 billion, with net foreign buying at P348 million.

"The back-to-back closing at new record highs on the first trading day of 2018 and last trading day of 2017 is an auspicious sign for our stock market. Investor confidence and optimism were very apparent in today's trading and we hope our market will remain robust for most of the year," said PSE president and chief executive officer Ramon Monzon.

Stock analysts attributed the rise to investors tracking upbeat sentiment on Wall Street and regional markets.

"Philippine markets resumed their bullish climb on opening day with another record high once again. Investors are continuing to make their bets on issues they believe will outperform for the rest of the year," Marita Limlingan, president of Regina Capital Development Corporation, said in a note.

Reuters reported that Asian stocks booked a new decade high on Wednesday, mainly because of upbeat manufacturing surveys that signal an upturn in world economic growth. (READ: How a Fed rate hike impacts the Philippine economy)

Investors continue to bet on the local markets even as the 20% hike in stock transaction tax (STT) takes effect at the local bourse in line with the Philippines' new tax reform law.

Philippine peso strengthens again

It was last December 19 when President Rodrigo Duterte signed Republic Act No. 10963, a priority measure of his administration.

Revenues from the tax reform measure are meant to fund the government's Build, Build, Build infrastructure program and socioeconomic programs.

Just like the stocks, the Philippine peso on Wednesday continued its gains against the greenback.

The local currency strengthened anew against the US dollar after it closed P49.810 to $1. This was compared to Friday's close of P49.930 to $1. – Rappler.com