Easter cheer to lift market

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The local stock market is expected to pick up pace when it reopens today, with upbeat Easter sentiment carried over to the first day of business following the Holy Week break.

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The inflow of new foreign investment funds and more positive corporate earnings results are also anticipated to support share prices further.

“We expect the bullish run to continue next week due to pent-up [demand]from the Easter hiatus. There is still a handful of companies that have yet to release their earnings results but these are likely to be unveiled soon given the bourse’s April 15 deadline for annual reports,” investment analyst Anton Alfonso of RCBC Securities Inc. said in a weekly market report.

Other analysts see buying interest by foreign funds rotating around laggard and mid-tier stocks.

“We expect the local equities to trade sideways within the range of 7,900 to 8,100 [points]. Foreign funds are expected to continue to flow to the market, supporting the index. But we may see some rotation of funds to laggards and mid-tier names after index stocks reached all-time highs,” BPI Asset Management said in its weekly review.

Before trading took a Holy Week pause, the Philippine Stock Exchange index (PSEi) closed at an all-time high of 7,993.09 points on April 1, the 24th time it set a record finish this year. That day it rose 52.60 points or 0.66 percent. In the year to date, the benchmark index has gained 10.5 percent.

Jason Escartin of online brokerage firm 2TradeAsia.com said the market will reflect Easter optimism but will be tested after the initial days of the week as investors watch the developments in Iran, Greece and the eurozone, as well as the confluence of US data that will shape the first-quarter economic report.

“Market watchers will check whether the PSEi will stay above 8,000 for a post-Easter treat, or range-trade within 7,800 to 8,000 points. In case 8,000 is pierced, the next possible upside is 8,200 to 8,300 points. [Investors are advised to] opt for modest gains and reposition on dips,” Escartin said.

Meanwhile, Justino Calaycay Jr. of Accord Capital Equities Corp. cited news over the weekend that could provide fodder for even more positive spin for equities, such as: weaker US jobs growth in March may lead Fed chair Janet Yellen’s finger off the tweak-button; Greece appears to be putting on all stops to prevent its exit from the eurozone; and a framework agreement reached by Western Allies with Iran on the latter’s nuclear program.

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