Philippine Stocks’ Sudden Spike Has Traders Grasping for Reasons

(Bloomberg) -- What seemed like a quiet day for Philippine stocks took a turn in the last 10 minutes of trading.

The Philippine Stock Exchange Index lurched higher near the close of market trading on Wednesday, rising almost 2.2 percent, the most in two weeks. SM Investments Corp., JG Summit Holdings Inc., BDO Unibank Inc. and SM Prime Holdings Inc. were the biggest contributors to the rally.

Traders couldn’t immediately pinpoint a trigger for a surge of that magnitude, though some said the sell-off on Tuesday was overdone, while others speculated local investment funds may have been buying specific stocks that have a big weighting on the index and the potential for window dressing.

Philippine Stocks’ Sudden Spike Has Traders Grasping for Reasons

“There were local funds that accumulated on expectations 2019 will be a good year, while there were foreign investors who added to their basket of Philippine stocks,” said Manny Cruz, a strategist at Papa Securities.

Foreign investors sold net $1.38 million of Philippine shares today, the fourth straight day of withdrawals, according to data compiled by Bloomberg.

The benchmark index, which closed at 7,579.62, could “easily hit” 8,200 in the first half of 2019 as inflation continues to cool down, Cruz said. He added that foreign fund outflows will reverse once the nation’s inflation level drops below the central bank’s interest-rate level.

The Philippine Stock Exchange Index, which not long ago was one of the world’s worst-performing equity gauges for the year, has rebounded 11 percent from a low last month. It is now the second-best market globally for December, according to data compiled by Bloomberg.

©2018 Bloomberg L.P.